Storybook writing in first grade

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Research literature on writing storybooks overlooks first graders. This is puzzling as children enter first grade having emergent literacy, in reading, writing, and story composition. It may reflect the belief that at this age children should learn to read and write (conventionally) as the curriculum demands, while elaborate writing is assumed be taught and developed in higher grades. This study investigated story writing by Arab (N = 184) and Jewish (N = 321) first graders in Israel. The children were presented with four related pictures, asked to paste them in the sequence of their choice in a booklet, and then to write a narrative in their first language (Arabic or Hebrew). Writing the storybook was perceived as a space for literacy development, and was tested in the context of two instruction methods: Success For All (SFA) and whole-class Active Learning (AL). The classes were observed and teachers were interviewed on writing instruction. Nineteen categories of writing yielded three clusters-factors: book print awareness, writing conventions, and story quality. These then served as measures for writing outcomes. Jewish and Arab children in SFA achieved higher scores than AL students; the Jews were higher than the Arabs on most categories, but the estimate gain was highest for Arabs in SFA. The effect of SFA was highest for at-risk Jewish students and lowest for at-risk Arab students. The results are discussed against the linguistic and cultural background of the two groups and in respect of their implications for writing instruction in a bilingual context.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)267-299
    Number of pages33
    JournalReading and Writing
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Apr 2004

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The SFA project was part of the holistic project in the city of Acre and was funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport in Jerusalem.


    • First grade
    • Hebrew and Arabic
    • Learning context
    • Success For All (SFA)
    • Whole-language Active Learning (AL)
    • Writing development

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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