WRITING INSTRUCTION AT THE EARLY CHILDHOOD LEVEL: TEACHERS' USE OF INDIVIDUAL STUDENT WRITING CONFERENCES AND OTHER STRATEGIES TO MOTIVATE STUDENTS TO WRITE
Elliott, Jeannette O.
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The quality of students' writing in kindergarten has a great effect on their future writing ability during the elementary years (Kissel, 2008). Because students begin kindergarten at various levels of writing ability, more knowledge on kindergarten writing instruction is necessary in order to meet the needs of all kindergarten students and to provide quality writing instruction at the kindergarten level. Thus, the purpose of the qualitative study was to examine teachers' perceptions regarding the use of individual student writing conferences and other writing instruction strategies in five kindergarten classrooms using a collective case study approach. A purposeful sample of five kindergarten teachers from a South Texas suburban public school pre-kindergarten and kindergarten campus were the participants for the multiple case study. The researcher explored teachers' writing instruction in the kindergarten classroom through pre and post teacher interviews and two open-ended classroom observations over a seven-week period. The results of the interview data yielded six themes: social interaction, effective learning environment, student writing abilities, student progress toward independent writing, student motivation through praise, teacher self-efficacy. Findings from the observations supported the themes that emerged from the interviews. The findings of the study provide a deeper insight into how to effectively produce writers in the kindergarten classroom and can inform other teachers of ways to meet the individual student needs within a classroom of diverse emergent writers at varying levels of abilities. The descriptions presented in this study regarding writing instruction at the kindergarten level have implications for providing effective instruction to kindergarten students in order to empower their writing success during the elementary years. One recommendation for future research would be a similar study with teacher reflection included, with teachers thinking about their instructional practices, thinking about their desired goals, and thinking about how to adjust their instruction in order for those goals to happen. A second recommendation for future research is to conduct the study allowing for more than seven weeks. One last recommendation for future research would be a similar study using a quantitative research design in order to report on student growth in writing.
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION