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Handwriting automaticity and writing instruction in Australian kindergarten: An exploratory study

Malpique, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-1683-9906, Pino-Pasternak, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-1030-7458 and Valcan, D. (2017) Handwriting automaticity and writing instruction in Australian kindergarten: An exploratory study. In: 14th European Conference of Psychological Assessment (ECPA14), 5 - 8 July 2017, Lisbon, Portugal


Learning to write involves the acquisition and development of lower-level skills (e.g., handwriting and spelling) and higher-level skills (e.g., planning and revising). Accumulating evidence indicates handwriting automaticity is related to the development of effective writing skills. The present study examined the levels of handwriting automaticity of Australian children at the end of kindergarten and the amount and type of writing instruction they experienced before entering first grade. The current study involved 177 kindergarten children enrolled in 23 classrooms from seven public primary schools in Western Australia. Individual child level data (e.g., handwriting automaticity and word-reading skills) were collected and teachers were asked to complete a survey assessing the amount of time and types of writing activities developed in their classrooms (viz., teaching basic skills and teaching writing processes). Hierarchical linear models were conducted to examine total variance attributable to child and classroom levels. Results showed a total variance of approximately 20% in children’s handwriting automaticity attributable to differences among classrooms when gender and word-reading skills were controlled for. Large variability was noted in the amount and type of writing instruction reported by each participating teacher. Handwriting automaticity was associated with the teaching of revising strategies but not with the teaching of handwriting. Implications for writing development, writing instruction, and early writing assessment will be discussed.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
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