The contributions of executive functioning to handwritten and keyboarded compositions in Year 2 children

Debora Valcan*, Malpique Anabela, Deborah Pino-Pasternak, Mustafa Asil, Timothy Teo

*Corresponding author for this work

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Writing is a multifaceted skill, recruiting varied cognitive processes that involve working memory, attention shifting and inhibition, also known as executive functioning (EF). Despite emerging research examining associations between EF and handwritten composition, the mediating role of transcription skills on the relation between EF and text composition remains underexplored. Even less is understood about the nature of these potential mediation mechanisms in keyboard-based text composing, a writing modality that is becoming pervasive during the first years of schooling. This study investigated whether the automaticity of inscription skills (handwriting and keyboarding) and spelling mediate the relation between children’s EF and text composition across two modes (paper and keyboard-based text composing) on a sample of 544 Year 2 Australian children. Assessments of EF, inscription skills, spelling, and text composition were measured concurrently. Indirect pathways were tested via structural equation modelling. Findings indicated that across text composition modes, handwriting automaticity, keyboarding automaticity and spelling mediated the relationship between children’s EF and writing composition (i.e., compositional fluency and quality). The findings of this study extend current understanding of associations between cognitive processes and text composition in the junior years by examining keyboard-based text composing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102272
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


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