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Preschool Children's Understanding of the Graphic Features of Writing

  • Received : 2011.10.08
  • Accepted : 2012.01.27
  • Published : 2012.02.28

Abstract

This project examined 2, 3, and 4-year-old children (N = 34) in a university campus child care setting to assess their understanding of the graphic features they use in their emergent writing (to distinguish it from a drawing of the same referent). The graphic features present in samples of the children's work were examined and compared to the graphic features children could identify through verbal and nonverbal communication. We examined the frequencies of graphic feature identification, as well as significant differences between graphic feature usage and graphic feature identification. The most frequently used graphic features were linearity, unidirectionality, and small size of units. The most frequently identified graphic feature was conventional letter. Overall, children used significantly more graphic features than they were able to identify. Significant relationships comparing the 2-year-old group and 4-year-old group's usage and identification were also found. The findings are discussed in terms of their application to early childhood classrooms. Teachers can apply these findings when engaging children in conversations about their emergent writing; these discussions are explored as a beneficial teaching tool.

Keywords

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