Predictors of success with writing in the first year of school

Brian Hemmings, Noella Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Language and literacy skills are instrumental to success at school and early success with writing is a key factor in literacy development. By eight years of age, children spend up to half of their school day engaged in writing tasks suggesting that those who find learning to write difficult may be disadvantaged. The ability to hear and record sounds in sequence and writing vocabulary are two ingredients necessary for early writing success. In this study we examine the relationship between language skills at school entry and two outcome measures related to phonemic awareness and writing vocabulary at June and December for children (n=60) in the first year of school. We analysed data collected using standardised instruments and investigated both bivariate and multivariate relationships. The findings suggest that oral language development is a strong predictor of children’s ability to hear and record sounds in the first six months of school and writing vocabulary development in the first year. Although oral language development and phonemic awareness have been linked before in previous studies, we establish a clear relationship between these two areas with respect to early writing development. We conclude the paper by considering the study’s implications for teachers, parents and researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalIssues in Educational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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