Hofslundsengen, Hagtvet & Gustafsson (2016): Immediate and delayed effects of invented writing intervention in preschool
I: Reading and Writing, Online first
Hilde Hofslundsengen, Bente Eriksen Hagtvet; Jan-Eric Gustafsson
This study examined the effects of a 10 week invented writing program with five-year-old preschoolers (mean age 5.7 years) on their immediate post intervention literacy skills and also the facilitative effects of the intervention on the subsequent learning to read during the first 6 months of schooling. The study included 105 children (54 girls) from 12 preschools in Norway. The preschools were randomly assigned to the experimental group with the invented writing program, or the control group with the ordinary program offered to preschoolers. The classroom-based programs (40 sessions) were conducted by the children’s regular teachers. The children’s emergent literacy skills were evaluated using a pre-test, a post-test and a follow-up test 6 months later, and the data were analyzed using latent autoregressive models. The results showed that the invented writing group performed significantly better than the control group on the post-test for the measures of phoneme awareness (d = .54), spelling (d = .65) and word reading (d = .36). Additionally, indirect effects were observed on the delayed follow-up tests on phoneme awareness (d = .45), spelling (d = .48) and word reading (d = .26). In conclusion, we argue that invented writing appeared to smooth the progress of emergent literacy skills in preschool, including the subsequent reading development in school. Contextualized in a semi-consistent orthography and a preschool tradition that does not encourage the learning of written language skills, the findings add to our knowledge of how children learn to write and read.