Teaching children to write: A meta-analysis of writing intervention research


  • Monica Koster
  • Elena Tribushinina
  • Peter F. de Jong
  • Huub van den Bergh




elementary school, intervention, meta-analysis, teaching, writing


It has been established that in the Netherlands, as in other countries, a majority of students do not attain the desired level of writing skills at the end of elementary school. Time devoted to writing is limited, and only a minority of schools succeed in effectively teaching writing. An improvement in the way writing is taught in elementary school is clearly required. In order to identify effective instructional practices we conducted a meta-analysis of writing intervention studies aimed at grade 4 to 6 in a regular school setting. Average effect sizes were calculated for ten intervention categories: strategy instruction, text structure instruction, pre-writing activities, peer assistance, grammar instruction, feedback, evaluation, process approach, goal setting, and revision. Five of these categories yielded statistically significant results. Pairwise comparison of these categories revealed that goal setting (ES = 2.03) is the most effective intervention to improve students’ writing performance, followed by strategy instruction (ES = .96), text structure instruction (ES = .76), peer assistance (ES = .59), and feedback (ES = .88) respectively. Further research is needed to examine how these interventions can be implemented effectively in classrooms to improve elementary students’ writing performance.



How to Cite

Koster, M., Tribushinina, E., de Jong, P. F., & van den Bergh, H. (2015). Teaching children to write: A meta-analysis of writing intervention research. Journal of Writing Research, 7(2), 249–274. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2015.07.02.2




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