Writing informational text using provided information and text structures: an intervention for upper elementary struggling writers

Michael Hebert, Janet J. Bohaty, J. Ron Nelson, Julia V. Roehling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Informational text writing is a complex task requiring multiple literacy skills, such as reading and comprehending source material, identifying important information, and transforming ideas to meet the goals for the new writing task. The Structures Writing intervention was developed to improve the informational text writing skills of 4th and 5th grade struggling writers by reducing the cognitive load associated with reading source text and teaching students to organize information using text structures. In the current study, sixty-one 4th and 5th grade struggling writers were randomly assigned to receive the Structures Writing intervention. Students in the Structures Writing intervention were provided with information in “frames” and taught to write informational passages using three text structures (i.e., simple description, compare/contrast, sequence). To do so, the students were taught a strategy for picking the topic and structure of their writing, organizing facts for the text structure, and writing the facts in paragraph form. They were also taught to include text structure features, including signal words, transition words, grouping similarities and differences, etc. At post-test, students who received the Structures Writing intervention statistically significantly outperformed the control group on researcher-created measures of simple description writing (d = 0.66), compare/contrast writing (d = 0.61), and sequence writing (d = 0.94). Results also indicate students in Structures Writing intervention condition statistically significantly outperformed the math-writing group on a measure of identifying text structures in reading passages (d = 0.94). No other statistically significant differences were found between the groups. The implications and future directions for the development of the Structures Writing intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2165-2190
Number of pages26
JournalReading and Writing
Volume31
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • Fifth grade
  • Fourth grade
  • Informational text
  • Text structures
  • Writing
  • Writing disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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