Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Department name when degree awarded

Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Kathleen A. J. Mohr


Kathleen A. J. Mohr


Cindy Jones


Barbara DeBoer


Research that shows the need for letter-writing fluency as a foundation for being able to attend to higher-level thinking skills in writing calls for more research as to what the components of letter-writing fluency actually are and how they are related to writing efficiency. To study the components of letter-writing fluency, four assessments were used to evaluate 49 kindergarten students’ letter writing abilities. These assessments were made in December of their kindergarten year. The first assessed subskill was letter-naming fluency (LNF), which has previously been shown to be predictive of reading ability. The other two subskills that were assessed focus on critical features of letters: (a) letter construction of lowercase letters using physical manipulation and placement of critical features, and (b) critical feature production (CFP) in the form of writing pseudo-letters made up of the same critical features as Roman alphabet letters. As LNF was suspected to be a strong indicator of letter-writing fluency, the other two subskills of critical feature identification and CFP were also analyzed to see how much variance they accounted for in LNF. LNF, CFP, and letter construction were shown to have various amounts of effect on the task of letter-writing fluency. The task of LNF was most strongly correlated with letter-writing fluency. The two tasks of lowercase alphabet letter construction using critical features and the writing of pseudo-letters containing critical features of alphabet letters together were only somewhat related to letter-writing fluency. These two tasks were more strongly related to the task of LNF than letter-writing fluency. This study has implications for letter-writing instruction in early childhood education classrooms, including a strong emphasis on letter-naming activities in the early stages of letter writing. Exploratory, developmentally sensitive instruction may be beneficial involving early writers in activities that require identification, manipulation, and writing of basic critical features of letters. These instructional options are worthy of further research.



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