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The contribution of executive functions to narrative writing in fourth grade children

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Reading and Writing
Issue number7
Volume28
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)989-1011
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The present study investigated the contribution of executive functions to narrative writing in fourth grade children, and evaluated to what extent executive functions contribute differentially to different levels of narrative composition. The written skills of 102 Dutch children in fourth grade were assessed using a narrative picture-elicitation task. In addition, a large test battery assessing transcription skills, language skills and executive functions, was administered. The results showed that executive functions contributed both directly and indirectly to narrative composition. More specifically, analyses revealed that inhibition and updating, but not planning, contributed directly to the text length of the narrative, and indirectly, through handwriting, to the text length, syntactic complexity, and story content. The findings underscore the need to assess a variety of executive functions and support the idea that in developing writers executive functions also play a role in more complex written composition tasks, such as narrative writing.