Translation of Thoughts into Written Language in Developing Writers with and without Specific Learning Disabilities
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Two studies were conducted on translating thoughts into different levels of written language--the next sentence (Level I) and the evolving text (Level II). In Study 1, a longitudinal study of typically developing writers, translation strategies were coded at Levels I and II for narrative (cohort one - grades one, three, and five; cohort two - grades three, five, and seven) and expository (cohort one - grades two and four; cohort two - grades four and six) texts for three transcription (spelling) ability groups (poor spellers, average spellers, and superior spellers; 10 girls and 10 boys within each group). The first research hypothesis was confirmed: The coding scheme accounted for all observed translation strategies and reflected some use of multiple ones at Level I or across Levels I and II, consistent with the generative nature of cognitive to linguistic translation. Consistent with the second hypothesis, main effects or interactions with transcription ability were found, especially in cohort one for grades one to five. Study 2 examined whether teaching translation strategies for writing the next sentence, just before the culminating composing activity (autobiographical texts in first six lessons or summaries of read and heard source material in last twelve lessons) to students in grades four to nine with specific learning disabilities (SLDs), resulted in students' use of these strategies during composing of autobiographical texts (lessons one to six) or summaries about read source material and heard source material, that is, integrated reading-writing and integrated listening-writing, equated for number of words and comparable content (lessons seven to 18). Compositions of the first cohort to complete the computerized lessons (N=33) were coded for frequency of use of Level I and Level II translation strategies. Overall, students used many of the taught translation strategies, but individual participant analyses showed considerable diversity among students in which ones they used. Level II translation strategies for cohesion were used significantly more in autobiographical writing than written summaries. Study 1 and Study 2 results are interpreted with teacher voice for translating research into educational practice, for example, by teaching translation strategies for sentences as well as genre.
- Education - Seattle