Teaching writing starting in kindergarten: Effects of a tier 2 intervention

Teaching writing starting in kindergarten: Effects of a tier 2 intervention

First Author: Meaghan McKenna -- University of South Florida
Additional authors/chairs: 
Howard Goldstein; Xigrid Soto
Keywords: Informational and Opinion Writing Genres, Writing Instruction, At Risk Students, Early Literacy, Kindergarten
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose- Writing is an essential tool for communicating and learning that is linked to the future success of students educationally and professionally. The objective of this project was to assess if a Tier 2 intervention targeting informational and opinion writing resulted in growth in writing skills of kindergartners identified as poor writers by addressing the following questions: (1) To what extent does a comprehensive writing intervention across three units of instruction improve the writing of kindergartners experiencing delayed writing skills? (2) To what extent do teachers observe improvements and generalization in classroom writing activities?

Method- The Tier 2 intervention provided systematic and explicit instruction on informational and opinion writing. Lessons provided students with guidance (e.g., goal setting, writing checklist) and practice opportunities. A multiple baseline design across three units of instruction: 1) organization and remaining on topic; 2) capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, and vocabulary; and 3) handwriting and spelling was used to evaluate intervention effects. Seven kindergarten students participated in two 25-minute intervention sessions and one independent writing session each week. They received a score ranging from 0 to 5 for each skill.

Results- The results of the visual analysis, non-overlap statistics, and multilevel modeling indicate that with the initiation of each phase of intervention, all of the participants made gains in targeted behaviors. Social validity data collected from the students illustrate changes in attitudes towards writing. Students' families provided favorable input and noted improvements in their reading and writing and teachers noted generalization of writing skills to the classroom.

Conclusions- These findings demonstrate that when writing intervention is designed around standards, evidence-based practices, and implemented with fidelity, students significantly improve.