Predicting the Quality of Composition and Written Language Bursts From Oral Language, Spelling, and Handwriting Skills in Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment

Connelly, Vincent; Dockrell, Julie E.; Walter, Kirsty and Critten, Sarah (2012). Predicting the Quality of Composition and Written Language Bursts From Oral Language, Spelling, and Handwriting Skills in Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment. Written Communication, 29(3) pp. 278–302.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088312451109

Abstract

Writers typically produce their writing in bursts. In this article, the authors examine written language bursts in a sample of 33 children aged 11 years with specific language impairment. Comparisons of the children with specific language impairment with an age-matched group of typically developing children (n = 33) and a group of younger, language skill–matched children (n = 33) revealed the role of writing bursts as a key factor in differentiating writing competence. All the children produced the same number of writing bursts in a timed writing task. Children with specific language impairment produced a shorter number of words in each burst than did the age-matched group but the same as the language skill–matched group. For all groups, spelling accuracy and handwriting speed were significant predictors of burst length and text quality. The frequency of pauses at misspellings was related to shorter bursts. These results offer support to Hayes’s model of text generation; namely, burst length is constrained by language and transcription skills

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