MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Working memory, language, motivation and children's early writing: A three‐year longitudinal study

    Carroll, Kathleen (2013) Working memory, language, motivation and children's early writing: A three‐year longitudinal study. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (506kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    The goal of the current research was to study the cognitive processes that support the emergence of writing in young children and to ascertain whether working memory, language ability or motivation to write underlined children's early attempts to learn how to write. Working memory, language ability and the emergent writing skills of 30 Irish children were tested, in a longitudinal study over a three year period, starting at ages 4 to 5 years in their first year of formal education. A cross-sectional study of 31 children in Junior Infants and 13 children from both Senior Infants and First Class was also conducted. Working memory was tested using the Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA). Tests of letter names and sounds, morphological knowledge/ grammar were administered. The children completed free writing tasks and writing output was analysed for linguistics features (e.g. spelling errors) as well as creativity, originality and task relevance. Children rated their liking of writing as an index of motivation to write. The results showed that working memory was associated with the originality of children’s emergent writing, as well as structural aspects of writing, particularly the use of connectives. Verbal working memory played a key role in particular. Participants’ early knowledge of grammar and sounds was associated with fewer orthographic errors in early writing and also with later measures of originality and detail. Children’s liking of writing had a more modest effect. Gender differences, contrary to expectations, were absent; however, trends in the data suggest differences that might have emerged at older ages. These findings highlight the complex interactions of language and memory functions in supporting early writing.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Working memory; language; motivation; children's early writing; three‐year longitudinal study;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 7740
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2017 14:29
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads