Writing for All: Examining Individual and Contextual Level Factors Explaining Writing in Primary Education

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

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Skilful writing is a powerful mean of communication, and it is a main goal in educational contexts worldwide (UNESCO, 2005). Learning to write is a highly complex and demanding process that involves the development of foundational writing skills, such as producing letters and conventional spellings, and process writing skills, such as planning and revising skills to create coherent written texts for different purposes and audiences (Kellogg, 2008). As a social activity, writing is shaped by specific contexts of teaching and learning, including formal instruction through schooling and informal teaching in home-based environments (Graham, 2018). In this presentation, I will be sharing findings from the Writing for All initiative led my myself and colleagues in Australia. This research initiative was designed to examine individual and contextual level factors explaining writing development in primary education. For this presentation, the focus will be placed on sharing findings from two research projects included in this research initiative.

The first project investigated multilevel predictors of children’s writing performance in Australian primary education (Malpique et al., 2022). Theories of writing development and accumulating evidence indicate that handwriting automaticity is related to the development of effective writing skills, and that writing and reading skills are also associated with each other. As in similar contexts across the globe, keyboarding has been replacing handwriting in high stakes testing in Australia, with children’s literacy skills being assessed via keyboard as early as in Year 3 (ACARA, 2018). However, little is known about children’s handwriting and keyboarding abilities and the role of instructional factors in the early years. Evidence confirming the role of handwriting automaticity to explain children’s writing and reading performance will be presented as well classroom-related factors facilitating effective writing.

The second project examined writing instruction in primary education in Australia. Concerns about students’ writing development are common across the globe, with studies indicating that students spend little time writing or being taught how to write (Graham, 2019; Veiga-Simao, 2016). Findings from the first national survey developed to examine the frequency and nature of instructional practices for writing in Australian primary classrooms will be discussed (Malpique et al., 2022), as well as implications for research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
EventFred Talks, Conferences in Psychological Science - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 13 Jan 2023 → …


ConferenceFred Talks, Conferences in Psychological Science
Period13/01/23 → …
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