Text structure as an indicator of the writing development of descriptive text quality
Keywords:Text Structure, Descriptive Texts, Text Quality, Literacy, Writing Development
Composing a well-written text is a prolonged and challenging process. The present study explored the incipient stages in descriptive texts written (pen and paper) or dictated by 283 Hebrew-speaking Israeli children in second to fifth grades. This study aims to better understand the interplay between age, literacy-related abilities, and descriptive text quality by exploring developmental aspects across grade levels regarding text structural quality, length of text and literacy related abilities, and by analyzing the relation between text structural quality and literacy related abilities (cognitive, transcriptional, linguistic, and reading), beyond length of text and grade level. Regarding the developmental aspects, the results indicate that text structure quality becomes more sophisticated and complete with age, attaining high-quality descriptive text structure from third grade on in the production of autonomous texts with genre-driven elaborate features. Length of text and literacy related abilities also increase with age. Regarding the relation between text structural quality and literacy related abilities, we found in 2nd grade, for P&P text, a significant total effect of syntactic lexical ability on text structure rank, partially mediated by length of text, and a weaker but still significant direct effect of syntactic lexical ability on TS rank, when controlling for length of text. We also found in 5th grade, for DICT text, a significant total effect of reading high ability on TS rank, not mediated by length of text.
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