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How executive functions predict development in syntactic complexity of narrative writing in the upper elementary grades

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Reading and Writing
Issue number1
Volume30
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)209-231
Publication statusPublished
Early online date1/07/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of transcription skills, oral language skills, and executive functions to growth in narrative writing between fourth and sixth grade. While text length and story content of narratives did not increase with age, syntactic complexity of narratives showed a clear developmental progression. Results from path analyses revealed that later syntactic complexity of narrative writing was, in addition to initial syntactic complexity, predicted by oral grammar, inhibition, and planning. These results are discussed in light of the changes that characterize writing development in the upper elementary grades. More specifically, this study emphasizes the relevance of syntactic complexity as a developmental marker as well as the importance of executive functions for later writing development.