Reading and writing across elementary school: How the development of reading fluency and comprehension predicts writing

Reading and writing across elementary school: How the development of reading fluency and comprehension predicts writing

First Author: Adrian Pasquarella -- University of Delaware
Additional authors/chairs: 
John Z Strong; David Coker; Sharon Walpole
Keywords: Reading development, Writing development, Reading comprehension, Reading fluency, Writing skills
Abstract / Summary: 

This study examined the developmental relationships between reading and writing skills. Specifically, we analyzed the extent to which growth in reading fluency and reading comprehension were related to growth in persuasive writing. Across grades 2-5 a total of 796 students completed measures of reading fluency (DIBELS Next Oral Reading Fluency subtest) and reading comprehension (Scholastic Reading Inventory, 2017) in fall, winter and spring for two years. Persuasive writing was assessed twice, spring of year 1 and 2, with an on-demand persuasive writing prompt (“Which kind of pet is best, a cat or a dog?” Student Achievement Partners, 2016). Written responses were scored for length, spelling accuracy, and quality. Latent growth curve modelling and path analysis were used to examine the relationships between achievement and growth across the reading and writing measures. The final model fit the data well, CFI = .98, RMSEA = .061. Mostly notably, performance and growth in reading comprehension were significantly related to both performance and growth in writing quality (β range =.15-.41) . Additionally, reading fluency performance was related to spelling ability (β = .41, p <.001), and growth in spelling (β = .24, p = .010). Growth in reading fluency was positively associated with writing length (β =.20, p <.001). Growth in reading comprehension was associated with increases in writing length (β = .24, p = .010). Aspects of the developmental interconnectedness between bottom-up and top-down reading and writing skills, with implications for theory and instruction, are discussed.