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

Malpique, A.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: 17th Biennial European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Conference: Education in the crossroads of economy and politics - Role of research in the advancement of public good, 29 August - 2 September 2017, Tampere, Finland


The present study examined the levels of handwriting automaticity at the end of kindergarten and the amount and type of writing instruction children experience before entering Year 1. The following questions were addressed in this study: (1) What level of handwriting automaticity do children exhibit at the end of kindergarten? (2) How much variation in writing automaticity is attributable to classrooms and schools? (3) What writing instruction do children experience at the end of kindergarten? (4) Are there associations between classroom writing instruction and children’s level of handwriting automaticity? 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 and writing instruction will be discussed.

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