UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The home backgrounds of writers 1984

You don't seem to have a PDF reader installed, try download the pdf

Item Metadata

Download

Media
UBC_1984_A8 W42.pdf
UBC_1984_A8 W42.pdf
UBC_1984_A8 W42.pdf [ 7.97MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 1.0078257.json
JSON-LD: 1.0078257+ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 1.0078257.xml
RDF/JSON: 1.0078257+rdf.json
Turtle: 1.0078257+rdf-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 1.0078257+rdf-ntriples.txt
Citation
1.0078257.ris

Full Text

C . i THE HOME BACKGROUNDS OF WRITERS by CLIFFORD JACK WEATHERMON B. A. i n Education, Western Washington State College, 197^ A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF :, THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY.OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Language Education Department) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard J, F, Belanger •S, J. Butler M. Crowhurst THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February 198** ... . © C l i f f o r d Jack Weathermon, 1984 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requ i rement s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g ran ted by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s unders tood t h a t copy ing o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a in s h a l l no t be a l l owed w i thou t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copy ing o f t h i s t h e s i s Department o f The. U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver , Canada V6T 1W5 Date 7Q \ Abstract This study investigates whether or not some ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s of students home environments are associated with writing s k i l l . A sample of 160 grade six and seven students who were judged by t h e i r teachers as more e f f e c t i v e or less e f f e c t i v e writers was selected from four elementary schools in a large B r i t i s h Columbia I n t e r i o r School D i s t r i c t . The parents of students in the sample were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning the home s i t u a t i o n and experiences of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . As a way of gathering other important information, a s t r a t i f i e d random sample of ten parents was selected from the larger sample to be interviewed concerning other aspects of t h e i r home s i t u a t i o n s . Questionnaire r e s u l t s were presented i n tabular form with frequencies and percentages reported f o r the responses of both groups. Differences between the responses from parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers and responses from parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers were then analyzed for significance by a Kolmogorov- Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . This study suggests that a good environment for an a s p i r i n g young writer would be a home in which 1) reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s take place regularly and are often discussed, 2) parents and s i b l i n g s regularly model language s k i l l s and have posit i v e attitudes toward the a c q u i s i t i o n of these s k i l l s 3) the educational l e v e l and occupational s k i l l l e v e l of parents are high and i i reading and writing materials are r e a d i l y accessible; and k) a portion of the writer's l e i s u r e time i s devoted to quiet, indoor, creative a c t i v i t i e s including reading and writing while excluding large amounts of t e l e v i s i o n viewing. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS I THE PROBLEM 1 A. Background of the Problem 1 1. Reading and Writing A c t i v i t i e s 1 2. Home Background Information 3 3. Leisure-Time A c t i v i t i e s 3 4. Parental Opinions 4 5. Summary of Background 5 B. ' Overview of Procedures 5 C. D e f i n i t i o n of Terms 6 D. Questions . 7 E. Assumptions 6 F. Limitations 6 G. Significance of the Study 9 H. Organization of the Study 10 II RELATED RESEARCH 12 A. Language Models 13 B. Parent-Child Interaction Concerning Reading and Writing A c t i v i t i e s 14 C. Description of Children's Reading and Writing Behaviors 15 D. Socio-economic Factors ....<, 16 E. Home Characteristics 18 F. Children's C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 20 G. Leisure A c t i v i t i e s of Children 22 iv H. Parent Opinions and Attitudes 24 I. Survey Methods 2 5 J . Interview Methods . t . . 28 K. Summary 3 0 III METHODOLOGY 3 4 A. Description of the Study 3 4 B. Timeline for the Study 3 5 C. Sample 3 6 D. Questionnaire Development 3 7 E. P i l o t i n g of the Questionnaire 3 7 F. Method of Questionnaire Administration 3 9 G. Interview Development and P i l o t i n g 40 H. Method of Interview Administration 42 I. Rationale 4 3 Topic 1 : Reading and Writing A c t i v i t i e s 4 3 Topic 2: Home Background Information .. 4 5 Topic 3 ' Leisure-Time A c t i v i t i e s 4 7 Topic 4 : Parents* Opinions 48 J. Data Organization 5 0 J K. S t a t i s t i c a l Treatments 5 2 IV RESULTS 5 4 A. Introduction 5 4 v 1 . S i g n i f i c a n t Variables 5 ^ 2 . Variables Which Approached Significance 5 5 3 . Variables Which Were Not S i g n i f i c a n t but i n the Hypothesized Direction 5 5 4 . Variables on Which There Was L i t t l e Difference 5 9 B. Reading and Writing A c t i v i t i e s 6 0 1 . Parents' Letter Writing Habits 6 1 2 . Mothers* Home and Work Writing Habits ... 6j 3 . Parent Response to Written Work Which Was Brought Home 6 5 4 . Students' Leisure Time Writing Habits ... 6 8 5 . Students' Early P r i n t i n g and Reading Experiences 6 9 6 . Students' Homework Habits 7 7 7 . Writing Help Given by Parents 8 0 8 . Reading to Children Which i s Done by Parents 0 . 8 3 9 . Parent-Child Discussions Concerning Reading & Televi s i o n Viewing 8 6 C. Home Background Information 8 7 1 . Books and Chalkboards i n the Home 8 8 2 . Mothers' Work Outside the Home 9 1 3 . The Absence of Natural Parents from the Home 9 4 4 . Level of Parental Education 9 4 5 . Parental Occupation 9 7 v i D. L e i s u r e A c t i v i t i e s 100 1. S t u d e n t s ' T e l e v i s i o n V iew ing 100 2. S t u d e n t s ' S o l i t a r y A c t i v i t i e s 103 E. P a r e n t a l Op in ions 108 1. S t u d e n t s ' I n t e r e s t i n S choo l 109 2. P a r e n t a l S a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h S choo l I n s t r u c t i o n 109 3. " I d e a l P a r e n t " V a r i a b l e s 113 4. " C h i l d r e n Shou ld " V a r i a b l e s 117 F. Other V a r i a b l e s 121 1. Sex 121 G. Summary 122 V SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION 126 A. Summary of R e s u l t s 126 B. D i s c u s s i o n and I m p l i c a t i o n s .., 132 C. P r o f i l e s of W r i t e r s and T h e i r Fami ly Members 148 D. E p i l o g u e 152 REFERENCES 155 APPENDICES 161 Appendix A: W r i t e r s ' Home Background Q u e s t i o n n a i r e and D i r e c t i o n s f o r Complet ion 161 Appendix B: C o v e r i n g L e t t e r to Pa rent s . . . . 171 Appendix C: In terv iewee L e t t e r s 173 Appendix D: I n te rv iew Agenda 175 Appendix Es The Home and Work W r i t i n g H a b i t s o f Mothers 179 v i i Appendix Ft Parents* Other Attempts to Teach P r i n t i n g to t h e i r Preschool Children 184 Appendix G: The Occupations of Mothers and Fathers 186 Appendix H: Table 30s Restrictions on the Televi s i o n Viewing of Children 190 Appendix I: Unsolicited Questionnaire Comments of Parents 194 Appendix J; Guidelines to Teachers f o r Selecting More E f f e c t i v e Writers and Less E f f e c t i v e Writers 201 v i i i LIST OF TABLES Table No. T i t l e Page 1 The l e t t e r writing frequency of mothers 6 2 2 The home and work writing habits of mothers 64 3 The frequency with which marked assignments are seen by parents 6 6 4 The responses of parents to the marked assignments of t h e i r children ....... 6 7 5 The frequency of writing during the leis u r e time of children 7 0 6 The s k i l l in p r i n t i n g which children possessed upon grade one entry 7 1 7 The reported ages of i n i t i a l interest in learning how to p r i n t 7 2 8 The order i n which children learned the s k i l l s of p r i n t i n g and reading .. 7 3 9 The frequency with which children worked on homework assignments ...... 7 7 1 0 The amount of time spent on homework assignments by children during each session of work 7 8 1 1 The frequency with which help on written assignments was given by parents 81 1 2 The frequency with which parents read aloud to t h e i r children 8 5 1 3 The frequency with which chalkboards were found in the homes of respondents 8 9 14 The number of books for children in the homes of respondents 9 0 ix Table No. T i t l e Page 15 The frequency with which mothers reported working outside the home... 92 16 The highest l e v e l of school attained by mothers 96 17 The highest l e v e l of school attained by fathers 96 18 The occupational c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s of jobs held by mothers 98 19 The occupational c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s of jobs held by fathers 98 20 The frequency of t e l e v i s i o n viewing by children 101 21 The frequency of r e s t r i c t i o n s on the t e l e v i s i o n viewing of children ..... 102 22 / The frequency with which children chose f i v e " s o l i t a r y " a c t i v i t i e s ... 105 2 3 The frequency with which children played alone 107 24 The amount of interest children were reported to have in school 110 25 The opinions of parents about reading and writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools 112 26 The amount of agreement expressed by parents with the statements that the id e a l parent should J 114 27 Parents' agreement with four a c t i v i t i e s c hildren should or should not do ... 118 28 The amount of agreement expressed by parents with the statements nowadays children such as my c h i l d should:... 120 29 Questionnaire respondents grouped by sex 122 30 Restrictions on the t e l e v i s i o n viewing of children 190 x CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM The purpose of t h i s s tudy was to determine whether or not some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of home environment are a s s o c i a t e d w i t h w r i t i n g s k i l l . By d i s t r i b u t i n g a q u e s t i o n n a i r e about t h e i r home s i t u a t i o n s to the pa rent s of s tudent s who were c l a s s i f i e d as "more e f f e c t i v e " or " l e s s e f f e c t i v e " w r i t e r s , data was g a the red . A d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n was c o l l e c t e d by the use of i n t e r v i e w s w i t h a s m a l l group of parents who were s e l e c t e d from the q u e s t i o n n a i r e respondents by use o f a s t r a t i f i e d random sampl ing t e c h n i q u e . The data from both sources was then ana l yzed to see i f any a s s o c i a t i o n s e x i s t e d between the f a c t o r s of home environment and e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . A. BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM Quest ions which were i n c l u d e d i n the survey were des igned to ga ther i n f o r m a t i o n about r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s i n the home, r e g u l a r household events and home m a t e r i a l s , l e i s u r e - t i m e a c t i v i t i e s of both c h i l d r e n and p a r e n t s , and p a r e n t a l o p i n i o n s . In t h i s way, answers c o u l d be found f o r the f o u r r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s . 1. Reading and W r i t i n g A c t i v i t i e s L i t t l e i s known about which r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s i n the homes of s tudents are a s s o c i a t e d w i th 1 2 higher or lower l e v e l s of s k i l l in writing. Consequently, in t h i s study, a number of questions were designed to gather information about reading and wri t i n g a c t i v i t i e s i n students' homes. Previous research has suggested which of these a c t i v i t i e s may be associated with reading and writing proficiency. For example, Dolores Durkin ( 1 9 6 6 ) in her examination of the home backgrounds of early readers and of those who did not read early found the role of mothers in the homes of early readers to be singularly important in a f f e c t i n g the early reading achievement of t h e i r children. She stated that the children's early reading achievement was influenced by the mothers' examples and t h e i r concepts of t h e i r roles as educators of the preschool c h i l d (p. 1 3 8 ) • She also described the homes of early readers as characterized by generous amounts of verbal interaction as well as s i g n i f i c a n t amounts of time being spent on reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s . Margaret Clark ( I 9 7 6 ) found the homes of early readers which she investigated characterized by many of the same q u a l i t i e s that Durkin reported. Reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s were found to be prominent features of the homes of early readers. Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) examined the home backgrounds of students who had attained either high or low achievement i n written English. He found that such factors as the 3 amount of time spent by the students in reading for pleasure and the number of l e t t e r s regularly written by the students at home were a l l d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the students' achievement in written English. 2. Home Background Information A large amount of educational research has been completed which investigates the~ association between home factors such as parental occupation and the scholastic achievement of students. Such factors suggested topics to question parents about f o r the present study. In his study concerning the home backgrounds of students, Monk determined that there was some association between the general socio-economic circumstances of homes and the students' l e v e l of attainment in written English. For example, he concluded that students' achievement in written English was d i r e c t l y related to parental occupation and family housing. 3 . Leisure-Time A c t i v i t i e s Leisure time occupies a large portion of each ch i l d ' s day. Researchers believe that what i s done during that l e i s u r e time may well a f f e c t other areas of the child' s l i f e . Questions were constructed for the present survey in order to f i n d what association 4 exists between leisure-time a c t i v i t i e s and a pupil's l e v e l of s k i l l i n writing. Monk's (1958) study proved useful i n constructing these questions. From his examination of leisure-time a c t i v i t i e s he was able to conclude that students in the high-achievement group spent more le i s u r e time reading f o r pleasure, spent less l e i s u r e time in the company of t h e i r peers, and held fewer part-time jobs than did students in the low achievement group. 4. Parental Opinions Researchers who have examined the home backgrounds of students agree that the attitudes of parents have an influence on the attainment of t h e i r children. Elizabeth Goodacre (1970), who summarized a number of d i f f e r e n t studies concerning the nature of the re l a t i o n s h i p between home factors and school progress, stated that the attitudes of parents have an e f f e c t on children's school attainment. Monk (1958) noted that a direc t r e l a t i o n s h i p existed between the importance parents attached to education and the degree of achievement reached by the c h i l d . The present study asks questions about parental attitudes in order to better describe the e f f e c t that these attitudes have on children's school attainment. Such areas as the degree of s a t i s f a c t i o n which parents have with reading and writing i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools and the role which they should play in the education of t h e i r children are explored. 5 5. Summary of Background The i n f o r m a t i o n gathered up to the t ime of the p re sen t study c o n c e r n i n g the a s s o c i a t i o n between home f a c t o r s and w r i t i n g s k i l l i s i n comp le te . More i n f o r m a t i o n i s needed i n such areas as how pa ren t s respond to and h e l p t h e i r c h i l d r e n w i th w r i t t e n as s i gnments , the p o i n t s o f view h e l d by parent s about what k inds o f w r i t i n g are done best by s t u d e n t s , how much t ime i s spent i n w r i t i n g at home by s tudent s and p a r e n t s , and s t u d e n t ' s i n i t i a l exper iences i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t . The p re sen t study exp lo re s each of these areas i n o rder to add to e x i s t i n g knowledge c o n c e r n i n g these t o p i c s . E. OVERVIEW 0? PROCEDURES To examine the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f a c t o r s i n the home environments of s tudents and the s k i l l w i th which they wrote, a q u e s t i o n n a i r e was a d m i n i s t e r e d to the parent s of 160 grade s i x and seven p u p i l s . These p u p i l s were judged by t h e i r t e a c h e r s to be e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (80 p u p i l s ) or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (80 p u p i l s ) . Subsequent ly , i n t e r v i e w s were conducted w i th the pa rent s o f t en of those p u p i l s . I n terv iewees were s e l e c t e d u s i ng a random^sampling techn ique tha t a s sured p r o p o r t i o n a t e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n from the groups. Q u a n t i f i a b l e data c o l l e c t e d by these means was coded, t a b u l a t e d , and d i f f e r e n c e s between groups were t e s t e d f o r 6 s i g n i f i c a n c e . A frequency cross-tabulation by group (group of more ef f e c t i v e writers and group of less e f f e c t i v e writers) i d e n t i f i e d trends and differences between the responses of the two groups. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample te s t was employed to determine i f the differences found by examining the cross-tabulation were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . Data which were not quantifiable were recorded and stored in written form. Such data were l a t e r reported along with the other r e s u l t s . C. DEFINITION OF TERMS "Writing proficiency" refers to an assessment of a student's writing a b i l i t i e s by.his teacher which i s . g l o b a l in nature and not based on a single composition or on his work in a single subject area. "Early readers" are children who learn the s k i l l of reading before beginning formal school in s t r u c t i o n in reading. The l a b e l "less e f f e c t i v e writers" referred to a group of students (somewhat less than a t h i r d of any group at a p a r t i c u l a r grade l e v e l in a p a r t i c u l a r school) who were judged by t h e i r teachers to have shown less f a c i l i t y in employing a l l of the s k i l l s of written composition i n t h e i r work in a l l subject areas over the period of a school year. They were judged to have shown less f a c i l i t y i n employing the composition s k i l l s than approximately two-thirds of the students at t h e i r grade l e v e l i n t h e i r school. 7 to a group of students (somewhat less than a t h i r d of any group of students at a p a r t i c u l a r grade l e v e l i n a pa r t i c u l a r school) who were judged by t h e i r teachers to have shown more f a c i l i t y in employing a l l the s k i l l s of written composition in t h e i r work in a l l subject areas over the period of a school year. They were judged to have shown more f a c i l i t y in employing the composition s k i l l s than approximately two th i r d s of the students at t h e i r grade l e v e l in t h e i r school. D. QUESTIONS This study was designed to pursue answers to four questions J 1. Which reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s done at home by both children and t h e i r family members are associated with eith e r more e f f e c t i v e writers or less e f f e c t i v e writers? 2. What materials in the home or regular events of the household are associated with either more- e f f e c t i v e writers or less e f f e c t i v e writers? 3. What leis u r e time a c t i v i t i e s participated i n by student writers, t h e i r parents, or both are associated with either more e f f e c t i v e writers or less e f f e c t i v e writers? 4. What are the opinions of parents about t h e i r r o l e s in helping t h e i r children learn the s k i l l s 8 of r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g which a re a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ? E. ASSUMPTIONS The f o l l o w i n g assumptions u n d e r l i e the c u r r e n t s tudy . 1. The g l o b a l judgments of t e a c h e r s about which s tudent s were i d e n t i f i e d as more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s i n one s c h o o l were ve ry s i m i l a r t o judgments about more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s which were made by o ther t e a c h e r s a t o the r s e l e c t e d s c h o o l s . 2. Mothers were ab le to remember many events from the p r e s c h o o l year s o f the c h i l d r e n . I t was a l s o assumed t h a t any f o r g e t t i n g o f such events d i d not i n t r o d u c e b i a s i n t o the s tudy . F. LIMITATIONS Formal g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y o f the r e s u l t s i s q u a l i f i e d by the use o f on ly f o u r s c h o o l s from a l a r g e d i s t r i c t w i th approx imate l y f o r t y s c h o o l s . G e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y i s l i m i t e d to grade s i x and seven s tudents i n a l a r g e B r i t i s h Columbia I n t e r i o r S c h o o l d i s t r i c t . The sample seems r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f but not f o r m a l l y g e n e r a l i z a b l e to towns o f medium s i z e i n B r i t i s h Columbia and i n other p a r t s of Canada. 9 A l i m i t a t i o n of the study i s the d i f f e r i n g response r a t e s between the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the group o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . The response r a t e f o r pa rent s of s tuden t s - i n the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s was 81 p e r c e n t wh i l e the response r a t e f o r pa ren t s of s tudent s i n the group o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s was 65 p e r c e n t . A f i n a l l i m i t a t i o n o f the c u r r e n t s tudy i s t ha t i t i s a lmost e n t i r e l y concerned w i th r e c a l l e d d a t a . Such i n f o r m a t i o n can be d i s t o r t e d by poor memory, by respondents g i v i n g answers which they t h i n k the r e s e a r c h e r wants to hea r , or due t o o ther c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Care was t aken , i n c o n s t r u c t i n g the data g a t h e r i n g i n s t rument s , t o min imize the d e t r i m e n t a l e f f e c t s which accompany r e c a l l e d d a t a . G. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY T h i s study examines q u e s t i o n s t h a t are both b a s i c to under s t and ing more about the environments which produce w r i t e r s and p o t e n t i a l l y u s e f u l t o parent s who wish to improve the w r i t i n g s k i l l s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The q u e s t i o n of what f a c t o r s o f home environment seem to i n f l u e n c e c h i l d r e n ' s s k i l l i n w r i t i n g , f i r s t examined t w e n t y - f i v e y e a r s ago, has not been f u l l y answered. S i n c e tha t t ime , no r e s e a r c h e r has i n v e s t i g a t e d t h i s q u e s t i o n . The p re sen t study o f f e r s the o p p o r t u n i t y to see i f a r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t s between home environment 10 f a c t o r s and s c h o o l achievement i n w r i t t e n composition. T h i s study d i d not purport t o d e s c r i b e the i d e a l home s i t u a t i o n f o r p r o d u c i n g e x c e l l e n t w r i t i n g ; i t i n v e s t i g a t e d whether or not p r o f i c i e n c y i n the s k i l l s of w r i t t e n composition was a s s o c i a t e d with f a c t o r s i n the home environments of s t u d e n t s . F i n d i n g t h a t c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f home environment are a s s o c i a t e d with w r i t i n g p r o f i c i e n c y would provide u s e f u l i n f o r m a t i o n t o parents and would augment what i s alre a d y known about which f a c t o r s of home environment seem to promote w r i t i n g e x c e l l e n c e . H. ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY The background, procedures, and the r e s u l t s of t h i s study are presented i n f i v e c h a p t e r s . 1 . Chapter 1 - The problem. T h i s chapter presents the problem and a summary of i t s background, the r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s , l i m i t a t i o n s and s i g n i f i c a n c e of the study, and an overview of procedures. 2. Chapter 2 - Review of l i t e r a t u r e . T h i s chapter b r i e f l y d e s c r i b e s r e s e a r c h i n t o the r e l a t i o n s h i p between home environment and sch o o l attainment e s p e c i a l l y i n the areas of r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g p r o f i c i e n c y . Research on q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n s t r u c t i o n and i n t e r v i e w p l a n n i n g i s a l s o b r i e f l y summarized. 11 3. Chapter 3 - Methodology. T h i s chapter d e s c r i b e s the s e l e c t i o n o f the sample, development and a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e , development of the i n t e r v i e w agenda, data o r g a n i z a t i o n , and s t a t i s t i c a l treatments. 4. Chapter 4 - R e s u l t s . T h i s chapter p r e s e n t s a c o m p i l a t i o n of c r o s s - t a b u l a t i o n r e s u l t s , an i n d i c a t i o n of s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups, a r e p o r t i n g of the f i n d i n g s f o r each v a r i a b l e , and a summary of data gathered from i n t e r v i e w s . 5. Chapter 5 - C o n c l u s i o n s . A summary of f i n d i n g s , c o n c l u s i o n s , and i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h are presented i n t h i s c h a pter. CHAPTER TWO: RELATED RESEARCH Many of the i n v e s t i g a t i o n s o f the home backgrounds of s tudent s have examined the a s s o c i a t i o n between home background and s c h o o l a t ta inment or the a s s o c i a t i o n between home background and r e a d i n g a t t a i n m e n t . U s i ng i n t e r v i e w and q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e s e a r c h i n v e s t i g a t o r s have found a s s o c i a t i o n s between h i gh l e v e l s of language s k i l l development and the f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s of home environment: a) the presence of f a m i l y members who model language b e h a v i o r s f o r c h i l d r e n , b) f r equen t p a r e n t - c h i l d i n t e r a c t i o n c o n c e r n i n g r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s , c) f r equen t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n r e a d i n g or w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s at home by c h i l d r e n , d) h i g h e r l e v e l s of p a r e n t a l e d u c a t i o n and o c c u p a t i o n , e) easy acces s f o r c h i l d r e n t o r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s , f ) c h i l d r e n ' s s tong and e a r l y i n t e r e s t i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s , g) c h i l d r e n ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n q u i e t and, g e n e r a l l y , s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s i n t h e i r l e i s u r e t ime, and h) s t r o n g p a r e n t a l i n t e r e s t i n the e d u c a t i o n o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n . I n v e s t i g a t o r s of p roper c o n s t r u c t i o n and implementat ion o f q u e s t i o n n a i r e s and i n t e r v i e w s i n r e s e a r c h have l i s t e d p r i n c i p l e s and g u i d e l i n e s c o n c e r n i n g a) word c h o i c e , b) q u e s t i o n s to a v o i d , c) how to w r i t e q u e s t i o n s , d) sequenc ing q u e s t i o n s , e) survey l e n g t h , f ) p i l o t i n g p rocedure s , g) c o n d i t i o n s of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , 12 13 h) i n t e r v i e w t y p e s , i ) f a c t s o f human nature e s s e n t i a l to i n t e r v i e w i n g , and j ) i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i n t e r v i e w responses a l l o f which were used i n the p r e p a r a t i o n s f o r the c u r r e n t s tudy . A. LANGUAGE MODELS — — . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / H a l l (1976), T a y l o r (1981), Tea le (1978), Du rk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) have shown t h a t the models t h a t parent s and s i b l i n g s p r o v i d e i n the home e x e r t a s t r o n g i n f l u e n c e on c h i l d r e n ' s r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l s . H a l l d e s c r i b e d the homes o f c h i l d r e n who l e a r n e d the s k i l l o f w r i t i n g e a r l i e r than u s u a l as homes where c h i l d r e n c o u l d o f t e n observe one pa ren t , both p a r e n t s , or s i b l i n g s engaged i n w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s and where c h i l d r e n f r e q u e n t l y observed o the r f a m i l y members r e a d i n g (pp. 583-584). T a y l o r , d e s c r i b i n g f a m i l i e s where c h i l d r e n r e a d i l y l e a r n e d how to read and w r i t e , s t a t e s " a l l o f the f a m i l i e s spoke o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s e x p e r i e n c i n g p r i n t on a d a i l y b a s i s " (p.98). F u r t h e r d e s c r i p t i o n s o f language mode l ing behav io r s are g i ven by Durk in and T e a l e . Durk in found t h a t the mothers o f e a r l y r eader s read more themselves (p. 9) and L i s t o n (I98O) c i t e s T e a l e ' s f i n d i n g t h a t r e g u l a r r e a d i n g by f a m i l y members was a s s o c i a t e d w i th e a r l y r e a d i n g (p. 8). A d d i t i o n a l l y , Monk (1958), i n h i s examinat ion of the a s s o c i a t i o n between home environment and s c h o o l achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h , d i s c o v e r e d the re was a r e l a t i o n s h i p between a c h i l d ' s 14 writing achievement and his being read to in infancy, (p.68) This r e l a t i o n s h i p has since been confirmed by Durkin (1966) , Clark (1976) , Plessas & Oakes (1964) , Price (1976), and Briggs & Elk i n s (1973. 1977) . B. PARENT-CHILD INTERACTION CONCERNING READING AND WRITING ACTIVITIES Clark (1976) , Durkin (1966), and Kenyon (1979) have determined that the parents and s i b l i n g s of early readers spend long periods of time discussing and encouraging the reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s of children. Clark ( I 9 7 6 ) found that the parents of children who achieved well i n reading and writing tended to spend large amounts of t h e i r time helping t h e i r children with beginning reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s . Durkin ( I 9 6 6 ) determined that such parents discussed reading and writing f r e e l y and regularly with t h e i r children and that they encouraged t h e i r children to parti c i p a t e i n reading and writing experiences. Clark (I976) stated that the parents of early readers whom she studied welcomed verbal interaction with t h e i r children (p. 42). Durkin (I966) stated that her research indicated "...the presence of parents who spend time with t h e i r children, who read to them, who answer t h e i r questions and requests for help, who demonstrate in t h e i r own l i v e s that reading i s a r i c h source of relaxation, information, 1 5 and contentment " (p. 1J6). The encouragement of reading by family members was a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the homes examined by Kenyon ( 1 9 7 9 ) and Clark ( 1 9 7 6 ) . Kenyon found that more students i n the above average and average groups of reading achievement came from homes where family members and family a c t i v i t i e s encouraged reading. Clark noted that most parents of early readers whom she investigated encouraged t h e i r early readers in the use of the l i b r a r y . C. DESCRIPTIONS OF CHILDREN'S.READING AND WRITING BEHAVIORS Clark ( 1 9 7 6 ) , Durkin ( 1 9 6 6 ) , Liston (I98O), and Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) reported that accelerated a c q u i s i t i o n of language s k i l l s took place i n the early readers they studied. Liston (I98O) described early readers as being t r u l y fluent readers and showing "...a clear strength i n auditory and language memory tasks " (p. 1 2 ) i C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) stated that many of the early readers she examined showed a f e e l for the style of written language unusual at t h e i r age, and a precision of vocabulary and of appropriate written syntax which was remarkable- (p. 9 ) . Both Clark ( 1 9 7 6 ) and Durkin ( I 9 6 6 ) asserted that early readers tended to learn to print before or at the same time as learning to read (Durkin p. 1 3 7 ) • Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) found that the amount of time spent i n reading for pleasure was related to the ch i l d ' s achievement in written English (p. 5 3 ) , a n d that the better achievers 16 preferred reading as a mode of getting information (p. 85). Monk also concluded that "...children in the superior achievement group in written English tended to write more l e t t e r s than did those in the i n f e r i o r group" (p. 106) and "the amount of time spent in home study... seemed to be d i r e c t l y related to achievement i n written English " (p. 71). Monk (1958), in summarizing his findings, stated that in response to nearly every i n t e l l e c t u a l interest or a c t i v i t y which he questioned students about, the writers who achieved higher standards in written English tended to have that interest more or parti c i p a t e i n that a c t i v i t y more than t h e i r lower achieving peers. D. SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS Monk (1958), Clark (1976), H a l l (1976), Durkin (1966), Goodacre (1970), Fraser (1959), and Taylor (1981) found that the home c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s associated with superior language s k i l l s were a) both parents l i v i n g i n the home, b) high levels of education possessed by parents, and c) being the oldest c h i l d in a family. Monk (1958) found that children i n homes where father l i v e d at home and worked f u l l time tended to achieve higher marks i n written English. He also stated that the achievement of children was clos e l y and p o s i t i v e l y related to the type of occupation held by t h e i r fathers. (The high achievers had fathers with highly s k i l l e d jobs.) 17 Because of these two f i n d i n g s he was ab le t o conclude t h a t " the achievement of the c h i l d r e n was d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d t o p a r e n t a l o c c u p a t i o n " (p. 131)• Monk (1958), C l a r k (1976), and H a l l (1976) each e x p l o r e d the r e a d i n g or w r i t i n g a t ta inment o f c h i l d r e n whose mothers worked o u t s i d e the home. C l a r k found few mothers i n her group o f pa ren t s o f e a r l y r e a d e r s who worked o u t s i d e the home and H a l l r e p o r t e d t h a t approx imate ly o n e - h a l f o f the s e v e n t y - n i n e mothers of e a r l y w r i t e r s i n her s tudy worked ou t s i de the home wh i l e t h e i r c h i l d r e n were p r e s c h o o l e r s (pp. 583-584). Monk found t h a t some mothers of s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s worked ou t s i de the home wh i l e some d i d n o t . The same was a l s o t r u e of mothers of lower a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s . Monk found no a s s o c i a t i o n between w r i t i n g achievement and mothers work ing o u t s i d e the home. The f i n d i n g s of Durk in (1966).and H a l l (1976) c o n c e r n i n g the e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l o f the pa ren t s of e a r l y r eader s and e a r l y w r i t e r s were ve ry s i m i l a r t o each o t h e r . Durk in conc luded tha t more mothers o f e a r l y reader s than mothers of those who d i d not read e a r l y were c o l l e g e graduates (p. 9), and H a l l found t h a t most pa ren t s of e a r l y w r i t e r s were c o l l e g e graduates who were e i t h e r i n p r o f e s s i o n a l occupa t i ons or q u a l i f i e d f o r them (p. 5 8 3 ) « In r e f e r e n c e to the p o s i t i o n o f c h i l d r e n i n a f a m i l y , T a y l o r (1981) s t a t e d "There was a g e n e r a l concensus t h a t 18 the f i r s t b o r n r e c e i v e d more a t t e n t i o n r e l a t i n g to r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g from parents than any subsequent c h i l d " (p. 98). She s t a t e d t h i s a f t e r examining f a m i l i e s i n which c h i l d r e n were r e a d i l y s u c c e s s f u l i n l e a r n i n g to read and w r i t e . Monk (1958) a s s e r t e d tha t the h i g h e s t achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h was from only c h i l d r e n who were males and from female o l d e s t c h i l d r e n (p. 159). Taken t o g e t h e r , the f i n d i n g s of T a y l o r and Monk suggest tha t f i r s t b o r n c h i l d r e n o f t e n master language s k i l l s more r e a d i l y and e f f e c t i v e l y than o ther c h i l d r e n . A r e p o r t by the I n s t i t u t e f o r Development o f E d u c a t i o n a l A c t i v i t i e s (1980), which examined the home and s c h o o l environment of over 18,000 s t u d e n t s , found t h a t " . . . one -parent c h i l d r e n show lower achievement and p re sen t more d i s c i p l i n e problems tha t t h e i r two-parent p e e r s . . . something about the one parent home s i t u a t i o n may impa i r c h i l d r e n ' s s c h o o l performance " (p. 3) . Thompson (1979) a l s o s t a t e s " . . . s t u d e n t s from two-parent f a m i l i e s tend to r e c o r d h i g h e r r e a d i n g comprehension achievement scores than do s tudents from one-parent f a m i l i e s . " These f i n d i n g s suggest a p o s i t i v e a s s o c i a t i o n between language s k i l l and the presence o f both pa ren t s i n the home. E. HOME CHARACTERISTICS H a l l (1976), Monk (1958), C l a r k (1976) , Kenyon (1979), and T e a l e (1978) found tha t the homes of s u p e r i o r r eader s 19 and w r i t e r s were c h a r a c t e r i z e d by s u p p l i e s o f books f o r c h i l d r e n , r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s , many exper iences w i th books, and atmospheres t h a t encouraged r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . H a l l (1976) found tha t books, magazines, and newspapers were a v a i l a b l e t o a l l f a m i l y members i n the homes o f the e a r l y w r i t e r s whom she s t u d i e d (pp. 583-584) and Monk (1958) conc luded t h a t the number of books f o r c h i l d r e n and the number of books f o r a d u l t s i n the home were both r e l a t e d to achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h by c h i l d r e n from the home (pp. 57, 59) . In the homes o f e a r l y w r i t e r s , H a l l (1976) a l s o found t h a t w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s were r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e t o the c h i l d , and u s u a l l y c o u l d be used wi thout s p e c i a l p a r e n t a l p e r m i s s i o n (pp. 58-3-584), Other f i n d i n g s c o n c e r n i n g the r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g expe r i ence s of c h i l d r e n i n c l u d e d those of C l a r k (1976): " a l l homes (of e a r l y r eader s were) p r o v i d i n g r i c h and e x c i t i n g e x p e r i e n c e s w i t h i n which books were an i n t e g r a l p a r t " (p. 4 6 ) . A l s o , L i s t o n (I98O) c i t e s the f i n d i n g of T e a l e (1978) t h a t one important f a c t o r which has been shown to be a s s o c i a t e d w i th e a r l y r e a d i n g i s " a v a i l a b i l i t y and range of p r i n t e d m a t e r i a l s i n the environment " (p. 8). C l a r k d e s c r i b e d the home atmosphere of e a r l y r e a d e r s as warm, a c c e p t i n g , and n o n - p r e s s u r i z e d (p. 4 8 ) . Kenyon (1979) 20 found tha t t h e r e was a g rea t d e a l of t o t a l f a m i l y i n t e r e s t i n r e a d i n g e x h i b i t e d i n the homes of above average reader s (p. 1) and L i s t o n (1980) r e p o r t s t h a t T e a l e (1978) found t h a t the home environments of e a r l y r e a d e r s responded to what the c h i l d was t r y i n g to do (p. 8 ) , F. CHILDREN'S CHARACTERISTICS C h i l d r e n who ach ieved w e l l i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g have been d e s c r i b e d as u s u a l l y a) hav ing h i g h e r than average or average IQ ' s , b) be ing g i r l s , c) hav ing made c a r e e r p lans at a young age, d) b e i n g ' s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t ' and ' s o l i t a r y ' , and e) b e i n g the source o f i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t i n r e a d i n g ( i n s t e a d of such i n t e r e s t be ing i n i t i a t e d by p a r e n t s ) . Gage (1963) i n h i s Handbook o f Research on Teach ing s t a t e d tha t a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between compos i t i on s k i l l and i n t e l l i g e n c e was found by McCarthy ( 195^) , D i e d e r i c h (1957) and Lange & Krug lov ( 1 9 5 0 ) . In a d d i t i o n , Maloney (I967) found t h a t one c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s he s t u d i e d was tha t they " . . . h a d h i gh i n t e l l i g e n c e r a t i n g s . . . " (p. 1) and Monk (1958) conc luded tha t i n t e l l i g e n c e was a power fu l f a c t o r i n d e t e r m i n i n g achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h (p. I85). R e s u l t s ob ta ined by Maloney ( I 9 6 7 ) a l s o i n d i c a t e d t h a t , g e n e r a l l y , the s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s i n h i s sample of n i n t h - g r a d e r s were g i r l s (p. 1 ) . Another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s was a 21 tendency to make f u t u r e p l a n s , both Maloney (19&7) and Monk (1958) c onc luded . Maloney s t a t e d t h a t most s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s i n h i s sample (of n i n t h - g r a d e r s ) had dec ided on a f u t u r e c a r e e r (p . 1) . Monk found t h a t the d e s i r e to f i n i s h h i gh s c h o o l was a s s o c i a t e d w i th h i g h achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h (p. 153) and the h i g h e r a c h i e v i n g s tudents had chosen more h i g h l y s k i l l e d jobs f o r t h e i r f u t u r e s wh i l e the lower a c h i e v i n g s tudent s had chosen l e s s s k i l l e d jobs (p. 155). C l a r k (1976) d e s c r i b e d the e a r l y r e a d e r s she i n v e s t i g a t e d as hav ing "powers o f c o n c e n t r a t i o n and s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y " (they c o u l d be con ten t e i t h e r i n the company of o thers or on t h e i r own) (p. 102) . Whi le f i n d i n g tha t the e a r l y r eader s she s t u d i e d were o f t e n d e s c r i b e d as ' s o l i t a r y ' or ' d o i n g t h i n g s on t h e i r own' (p. 4-2) she a l s o d i s c o v e r e d t h a t these c h i l d r e n " . . . a p p e a r e d w e l l - a d j u s t e d to s c h o o l and . . . (were ) seen as g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t a b l e to t h e i r c l a s smates " (p. 102). Goodacre (who c i t e s r e s e a r c h done by Regan (I967) ) found tha t the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f the i d e a l p e r s o n a l i t y ( f o r success i n s choo l ) were s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , pe r seve rance , s e l f - c o n t r o l , and f a s t i d i o u s i n d i v i d u a l i s m (p. 117). D u r k i n ' s match ing of e a r l y r e a d e r s and those who d i d not read e a r l y , however, showed l i t t l e d i f f e r e n c e between the two groups. 22 " I n i t i a l i n t e r e s t i n r e a d i n g was from the c h i l d a n d . . . they (the pa ren t s ) j u s t responded to r e q u e s t s f o r h e l p " (p. 5 4 ) s t a t e d C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) . Durk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) a l s o d e s c r i b e d the i n t e r e s t s of e a r l y r e a d e r s . She found t h a t t h e i r i n t e r e s t s were c h a r a c t e r i z e d by ' i n t e r e s t b i n g e s ' d u r i n g which c e r t a i n i n t e r e s t s were i n d u l g e d . i n f o r l ong p e r i o d s of t ime, then suddenly d i s c a r d e d (p. 1 3 7 ) . S u p e r i o r reader s and w r i t e r s have been d e s c r i b e d as hav ing a s t r o n g i n t e r e s t i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s as w e l l as b e i n g the i n i t i a t o r s and the ones who s u s t a i n t h a t i n t e r e s t . They have a l s o been d e s c r i b e d as hav ing average or h i ghe r i n t e l l i g e n c e r a t i n g s , b e i n g g i r l s , making f u t u r e p lans at a young age, and be ing ' s o l i t a r y * and * s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t ' . G. LEISURE ACTIVITIES OF CHILDREN Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) i n v e s t i g a t e d the l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n to a s c e r t a i n which of them were a s s o c i a t e d w i th s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s . Among o t h e r f i n d i n g s , he conc luded tha t the even budget ing of l e i s u r e time among a number o f p o s s i b l e a c t i v i t i e s and a h i g h f requency of p a r t i c i p a t i o n by pa ren t s and t h e i r c h i l d r e n i n the p r e f e r r e d a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n were a s s o c i a t e d w i th s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) found tha t the e f f e c t of t ime spent i n the company of peers appeared to be d e t r i m e n t a l i n i t s i n f l u e n c e on the achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h o f 2 3 s tudents (p. 9 7 ) . He a l s o noted tha t t ime spent w i t h peer s was i n v e r s e l y r e l a t e d to achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h (p. 97 ) . C l o s e l y r e l a t e d to l e i s u r e - t i m e p u r s u i t s i n which c h i l d r e n engage i s the budge t ing o f l e i s u r e t ime . Monk (1958) found t h a t the h i gher a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s tended to budget t h e i r t ime more even ly over a v a r i e t y of r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s than d i d the lower a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s (p. 180) . He a l s o conc luded t h a t hav ing a p a r t - t i m e job was r e l a t e d to lower ach ievement. Concern ing the l i s t e n i n g and watch ing a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n d u r i n g l e i s u r e t ime, Monk found tha t the l ower - a c h i e v i n g group spent more t ime watch ing t e l e v i s i o n than d i d the h i g h e r - a c h i e v i n g group (p. 81) but t h a t watch ing t e l e v i s i o n occup ied a l a r ge p a r t of the f r e e t ime of p u p i l s an both groups (p. 79 ) . The t e l e v i s i o n v i e w i n g h a b i t s o f e a r l y reader s were d e s c r i b e d by C l a r k (1976) as be ing s e l e c t i v e . She r e p o r t e d t h a t e a r l y reader s absorbed themselves i n a book or l e f t the room i f they were not i n t e r e s t e d i n what was on t e l e v i s i o n (p. 55 ) . Monk (1958) s t a t e d t h a t t he re was a r e l a t i o n s h i p between the l e v e l o f achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h and the f requency w i t h which pa rent s p a r t i c i p a t e d w i th a c h i l d i n h i s p r e f e r r e d a c t i v i t y ; f o r example, b a s e b a l l or p i c n i c s (p. 95). Because of t h i s , he went on to adv i se 2k " . . . p a r e n t s shou ld be encouraged to share the r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n " ( p . 9 5 ) . H. PARENT OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES- S t u d i e s by Bur t ( 1 9 6 9 ) . Durk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) , C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) , and Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) r e v e a l e d t h a t the pa ren t s of s tudent s who ach ieved w e l l took a s t r o n g e r i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s schoolwork, took a more a c t i v e p a r t i n e d u c a t i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n i n the home, and expressed a s t r o n g e r r e s p e c t f o r the va lue of e d u c a t i o n than d i d the pa ren t s of t h e i r lower a c h i e v i n g peer s . Parent s o f h i g h e r - a c h i e v i n g s tudent s a l s o expressed s t r o n g e r s a t i s f a c t i o n than the parent s o f l ower - a c h i e v i n g s tudent s d i d w i th t h e i r r o l e s as p a r e n t s . Goodacre ( 1 9 7 0 ) quotes Bur t ( 1 9 6 9 ) 1 " In the c h i l d ' s home c i r cumstances , the one f a c t o r which c o n t r i b u t e s most to h i s p rog re s s i n s c h o o l i s the a t t i t u d e o f h i s pa ren t s towards, and i n t e r e s t i n h i s day - t o -day e d u c a t i o n a l work " (p. 8 3 ) . Durk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) , i n e x p l o r i n g the a t t i t u d e s of pa rent s toward t e a c h i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n r e a d i n g a t home d i s c o v e r e d tha t more, mothers o f e a r l y r eader s thought i t a p p r o p r i a t e f o r pa ren t s to t each r e a d i n g a t home than d i d the pa rent s of c h i l d r e n who d i d not read e a r l y (p. 9 ) . Her f i n d i n g s l e d her to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the pa ren t s of e a r l y r eader s d i d not f e e l r e a d i n g had to be taught by an exper t (p. I l l ) , 2 5 Clark ( 1 9 7 6 ) described the parents'of early readers as having a respect for the value of education (p. 42) and Monk ( I 9 5 8 ) stated "...a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p existed . between the importance attached to i t (education) by the parent and the degree of achievement reached by the c h i l d . " (p. 137) An attitude of parents which also influenced the attainment of children was pos i t i v e f e e l i n g toward the role of parenting. Clark ( I 9 7 6 ) found that the parents of early readers were quite s a t i s f i e d being completely absorbed i n the job of parenting (p. 93) and "A contentment and s a t i s f a c t i o n with the role of mother and a deep involvement with t h e i r children's interests was c l e a r l y evident..." (p. 4 3 ) I. SURVEY METHODS Questionnaire items for the present study were constructed using the advice of such researchers as Oppenheim ( 1 9 6 6 ) , Jacobs (1974), and Charach ( 1 9 7 5 ) concerning a) word choice b) question types c) writing questions d) sequencing questions in the questionnaire e) questionnaire p i l o t i n g , and f) conditions of interpretation and administration of questionnaires. Jacobs ( 1 9 7 4 ) described some important guidelines for survey construction. He explained that care must be taken in choosing every word that appears in a 26 q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Each word tha t i s s e l e c t e d shou ld mean what i t i s i n tended to mean, be the s i m p l e s t word p o s s i b l e i n i t s c o n t e x t , and be a b s o l u t e l y neces sa ry (p. 10) . Ques t ions of a l l t h ree types which Jacobs (1974) d e s c r i b e d were employed i n the c u r r e n t s t u d y . Three two- way q u e s t i o n s were c o n s t r u c t e d . Such q u e s t i o n s were d i f f i c u l t to c o n s t r u c t but easy to respond to and a n a l y z e . M u l t i p l e c h o i c e q u e s t i o n s made up the m a j o r i t y of q u e s t i o n s i n the p re sen t su rvey . Whi le a l s o hard to f o r m u l a t e , they p r o v i d e d much more complete data from the respondents tha t d i d two-way q u e s t i o n s . A f u r t h e r advantage of m u l t i p l e cho i ce q u e s t i o n s i s t h a t they are not d i f f i c u l t t o answer or a n a l y z e . A number o f q u e s t i o n s which combined the f e a t u r e s of m u l t i p l e cho i ce q u e s t i o n s and open-ended q u e s t i o n s were a l s o used. A l i s t o f q u e s t i o n s to be avo ided i n survey c o n s t r u c t i o n was p resented i n a handbook f o r q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n s t r u c t i o n produced by S o c i a l and Community P l a n n i n g Research (1972): (a) l e a d i n g q u e s t i o n s (b) highbrow q u e s t i o n s (c) i r r i t a t i n g q u e s t i o n s (d) a p o l o g e t i c q u e s t i o n s (e) o v e r l y comp l i ca ted q u e s t i o n s ( f ) a r i t h m e t i c a l q u e s t i o n s (g) h y p o t h e t i c a l q u e s t i o n s (h) ambiguous q u e s t i o n s ( i ) secondary que s t i on s (pp. 44-46). A d d i t i o n a l l y , Jacobs (1974) a d v i s e s t h a t q u e s t i o n s shou ld c o n t a i n terms which are f a m i l i a r t o re spondent s , p re sen t a l l v i e w p o i n t s i n t h e i r r e sponse s , be s h o r t and s i m p l e , and not p re sen t u n d e s i r a b l e c h o i c e s or be ' l o aded * . 2 7 In addition to writing questions for surveys c a r e f u l l y , the researcher should also place questions in the correct sequence in his survey. The S o c i a l and Community Planning Research (1972) handbook on questionnaire construction advised that questions which are i n t e r e s t i n g and easy to answer be placed at the beginning of a survey, more d i f f i c u l t and emotionally loaded questions be put in the middle, and straightforward questions appear at the survey's end (p. 3 2 ) . The length of a survey i s another important consideration for the researcher. While Charach ( 1 9 7 5 ) states that length has l i t t l e e f f e c t on response rate (pp. 5 - 6 ) making a survey too long can have detrimental e f f e c t s on the v a l i d i t y of responses. I f respondents are fatigued and bored by extremely long surveys, t h e i r responses w i l l be adversely affected. Jacobs (1974) also outlines the p i l o t i n g procedure which was adopted for use in t h i s survey. A group which was representative of the f i n a l target audience and which knew the subject of the survey pretested i t and as Jacobs advised "...explained t h e i r responses" (p. 3 1 ) • Charach ( 1 9 7 5 ) states that i n order to obtain honest and frank responses and thereby aid survey v a l i d i t y , i t is also necessary to assure the complete anonymity as well as the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y of t h e i r (the subjects') responses 28 to those o u t s i d e the r e s e a r c h s t a f f (p. 5 ) « A d d i t i o n a l l y , he s t a t e s t h a t non response or low response r a t e s can i n t r o d u c e b i a s to the s tudy, and shou ld be c a r e f u l l y c o n s i d e r e d when i n t e r p r e t i n g r e s u l t s . In c o n c l u s i o n , i n v e s t i g a t o r s such as Oppenheim (1966), C l a r k (1976), Jacobs (1974), and Charach (1975) p r o v i d e d a d e s c r i p t i o n of how to b u i l d an e f f e c t i v e survey f o r the p re sen t s tudy . The i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d by these r e s e a r c h e r s was about q u e s t i o n t y p e s , p i l o t i n g p r o c e d u r e s , and c o n d i t i o n s o f a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . J . INTERVIEW METHODS The i n t e r v i e w agenda c o n s t r u c t e d f o r the p re sen t s tudy was f o rmu la ted u s i n g the r e s u l t s of such i n v e s t i g a t o r s as Kahn (i960) and G a r r e t t (1942) c o n c e r n i n g (a) the d i f f e r e n t t ypes of i n t e r v i e w s , (b) the purposes o f i n t e r v i e w i n g , (c) f a c t s o f human nature need ing to be understood by i n t e r v i e w e r s , and (d) the i n t e r p r e t i n g of i n t e r v i e w re spon se s . D e s c r i p t i o n s of the type of i n t e r v i e w c o n s t r u c t e d f o r the p re sen t study were p r o v i d e d by Kahn (i960) and G a r r e t t (1942) . Kahn s t a t e s t h a t such i n t e r v i e w s were concerned w i t h a t t i t u d e s , v a l u e s , f e e l i n g s , hopes, p l a n s , and d e s c r i p t i o n s o f s e l f (p. 1 8 ) . G a r r e t t (1942) l i s t e d f o u r f a c t s of human na tu re which are e s s e n t i a l f o r the i n t e r v i e w e r t o remember i f an 29 e f f e c t i v e interview i s to be conducted. 1. Respondents do not have to know or be able to name a cause for t h e i r actions (often they simply cannot do so). 2. Every fact of human experience, (objective fact) has i t s corresponding emotional attitudes (subjective fact) and both must be considered when interviewing. 3. Ambivalence - the harboring of c o n f l i c t i n g feelings, interests, desires and emotions about causes of actions; i s present to some extent in each person. 4. The development of an emotional r a p p o r t — p o s i t i v e or negative-between the interviewer and the interviewee i s inevitable. The interviewer should aim to control that rapport (not eliminate i t ) (p. 20). In order to achieve the most frank and open responses from respondents, interviewers should keep these facts of human nature in mind and t r y to understand - (not pass judgment on) the actions of respondents. The l a s t task of the interviewer i s to interpret the responses which he received. Garrett (1942) describes the procedure as one of constantly forming, testing, and accepting or r e j e c t i n g hypotheses about the responses he observes (p. 42) (this i s done c o n f i d e n t i a l l y ) . A f t e r the interview i s complete such hypotheses can be jotted down and undergo further changes i f necessary. 30 While i n t e r v i e w i n g i s , as Kahn (i960) n o t e s , a f a l l i b l e measur ing ins t rument which i s s u b j e c t to s u b s t a n t i a l e r r o r s and b i a s e s (p. 20) i t has g rea t va lue i n g a t h e r i n g da ta c o n c e r n i n g the a t t i t u d e s , f e e l i n g s , i n t e r e s t s , and m o t i v a t i o n s of p e o p l e . Such i n f o r m a t i o n would be d i f f i c u l t to c o l l e c t by any o ther means. K. SUMMARY Based on the data p re sen ted i n t h i s c h a p t e r the f o l l o w i n g g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about r e s e a r c h i n t o the home backgrounds of s tudents can be made. 1. The models p r o v i d e d by p a r e n t s and s i b l i n g s e x e r t a s t r o n g i n f l u e n c e on c h i l d r e n ' s r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l s . H a l l (1976) and T a y l o r (1981) d e s c r i b e d homes o f ' e a r l y reader s as p l a ce s where c h i l d r e n e x p e r i e n c e d p r i n t on a d a i l y b a s i s and o f t e n observed parent s or s i b l i n g s engaged i n r e a d i n g or w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . Durk in (I966) and Tea le (1978) conc luded tha t a l l members o f the f a m i l i e s of e a r l y r e a d e r s ( i n c l u d i n g the e a r l y ) were r e g u l a r r e a d e r s . Monk (1958) found tha t c h i l d r e n who were o f t e n read a l oud to i n i n f a n c y ach ieved h i g h e r marks i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h . 2. The parent s and s i b l i n g s of e a r l y r e a d e r s spent l ong p e r i o d s of time d i s c u s s i n g and encourag ing the r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n . Both C l a r k (1976) and Durk in (I966) found tha t d i s c u s s i o n s about and h e l p w i th the r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n were common 31 occur rences i n the homes they encounte red . C l a r k , Durk in , and Kenyon (1979) a l s o found t h a t i n the homes o f h i gher a c h i e v e r s , the c h i l d r e n were encouraged t o read by f a m i l y members and f a m i l y a c t i v i t i e s . 3. C h i l d r e n who possessed s u p e r i o r r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l development were s t r o n g l y i n t e r e s t e d i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s and p a r t i c i p a t e d i n them q u i t e r e g u l a r l y . Monk (1958) found tha t the h i g h e r a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s which he examined: (a) p r e f e r r e d r e a d i n g as a mode o f g e t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n , (b) wrote more l e t t e r s than an i n f e r i o r group, and (c) spent more time r e a d i n g f o r p l e a s u r e than d i d the lower a c h i e v i n g group. 4 . Research has shown the th ree f o l l o w i n g home s i t u a t i o n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are a s s o c i a t e d w i th s u p e r i o r language s k i l l development: (a) both parent s l i v i n g a t home, (b) h i g h l y educated p a r e n t s , and (c) b e i n g the o l d e s t c h i l d i n the f a m i l y . Durk in ( I 9 6 6 ) and H a l l (1976) found tha t the parent s of e a r l y r e a d e r s were more h i g h l y educated than the parent s o f those who d i d not read e a r l y . Thompson (1979) and the I n s t i t u t e f o r Development of E d u c a t i o n a l A c t i v i t i e s (1980) a s s e r t t h a t the academic performance (which i n c l u d e s language s k i l l ) of c h i l d r e n from two parent f a m i l i e s was s u p e r i o r to the performance of c h i l d r e n from one-parent f a m i l i e s . T a y l o r (1981) and Monk (1958) a s s e r t 3 2 t h a t f i r s t b o r n c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e more a t t e n t i o n from parents r e l a t i n g to r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g and ach ieve h i gher l e v e l s . 5. The homes of s u p e r i o r r e a d e r s and w r i t e r s were c h a r a c t e r i z e d by r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s and many expe r i ence s w i t h books. Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) and H a l l ( 1 9 7 6 ) found t h a t books, magazines, newspapers and w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s were r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e to c h i l d r e n and c o u l d u s u a l l y be used w i thout p a r e n t a l p e r m i s s i o n . C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) s t a t e d t h a t expe r i ence s w i th books were an e s s e n t i a l p a r t of the a c t i v i t i e s which took p l a c e i n the homes of e a r l y r e a d e r s . 6 . P rev i ou s r e s e a r c h has shown tha t s u p e r i o r r eader s and w r i t e r s were u s u a l l y ab le to work e f f e c t i v e l y i n a group or by themse lves . C l a r k ( I 9 7 6 ) d e s c r i b e d the e a r l y r e a d e r s she i n v e s t i g a t e d as hav ing powers of c o n c e n t r a t i o n and s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y which enab led them t o be content e i t h e r i n the company o f o ther s or on t h e i r own. 7 . S u p e r i o r r e a d e r s and w r i t e r s have a l s o been d e s c r i b e d by r e s e a r c h e r s as (a) hav ing h i g h i n t e l l i g e n c e r a t i n g s , (b) be ing g i r l s , (c) making f u t u r e p lans a t an e a r l y age. Gage ( I 9 6 3 ) , McCarthy ( 1 9 5 ^ ) , D e i d e r i c h ( 1 9 5 7 ) , Lange and Krug lov ( 1 9 5 0 ) , and Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) have found tha t i n t e l l i g e n c e i s a power fu l i n f l u e n c e on r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) and Maloney ( 1 9 6 7 ) found t h a t , g e n e r a l l y , the s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s i n t h e i r samples were g i r l s and tha t 33 s u p e r i o r w r i t e r s tended to make t h e i r f u t u r e p lans at a younger age than d i d the lower a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s . 8. P r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h suggests tha t a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of s u p e r i o r r e a d e r s and w r i t e r s i s budget ing t h e i r t ime even ly over a v a r i e t y of r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s . Monk (1958) found t h a t h i g h e r a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s budgeted t h e i r t ime more even l y than d i d lower a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s . He a l s o conc luded t h a t h i g h e r a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s spent l e s s time v iew ing t e l e v i s i o n and spent l e s s t o t a l time i n the company of t h e i r peers than d i d the lower a c h i e v i n g w r i t e r s . 9. The pa rent s of s u p e r i o r r e a d e r s and w r i t e r s e x h i b i t e d s t r o n g i n t e r e s t i n the s c h o o l p rog re s s of t h e i r c h i l d r e n and a g rea t d e a l of s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h t h e i r r o l e s as p a r e n t s . Goodacre ( 1 9 7 0 ) c i t e s Burt ( I 9 6 9 ) i n s a y i n g t h a t the a t t i t u d e of pa ren t s toward a c h i l d ' s day - to -day e d u c a t i o n a l work i s the home f a c t o r which c o n t r i b u t e s most to the c h i l d ' s s c h o o l p r o g r e s s . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) s t a t e s t h a t he found the parent s of e a r l y r eader s t o be content and s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i r r o l e s as p a r e n t s . CHA PTER THREE: METHODOLOGY A. DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY The purpose of t h i s study was to f i n d answers to f o u r q u e s t i o n s : 1) Which r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s done at home by c h i l d r e n and t h e i r f a m i l y members are a s s o c i a t e d with e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ? 2) What m a t e r i a l s i n the home or r e g u l a r events of the household are a s s o c i a t e d with e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or less, e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ? 3) What l e i s u r e - t i m e a c t i v i t i e s done a t home by c h i l d r e n , t h e i r p a r e n t s , or both are a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e i t h e r more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ? 4) What are the opini o n s o f parents about t h e i r r o l e s i n h e l p i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n l e a r n the s k i l l s o f r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g which are a s s o c i a t e d e i t h e r with more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ? In order to gather i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t would answer these q u e s t i o n s a q u e s t i o n n a i r e was designed and subsequently adm i n i s t e r e d to the parents of a sample of students i n grades s i x and seven. These students had 34 35 been i d e n t i f i e d by t h e i r t e a c h e r s as "more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s " or " l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s " . Once q u e s t i o n n a i r e s had been completed, they were c o l l e c t e d and t a b u l a t e d as w e l l as c r o s s - t a b u l a t e d by group (group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ) . A Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample t e s t f o r s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the d i f f e r e n c e s between the responses of the groups was used. I n terv iews were conducted w i th a s t r a t i f i e d random sample o f ten respondents i n o rder to ga ther a d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n about the home backgrounds o f s tudent s which a q u e s t i o n n a i r e - c o u l d not g a t h e r . The cha r t below d e s c r i b e s the approximate dates and amounts of t ime spent on each p a r t o f the p r o j e c t . Dur ing the summer months, f u l l days were spent on the p r o j e c t , but d u r i n g the s c h o o l year t ime was q u i t e l i m i t e d . B. TIMELINE FOR STUDY Schoo l d i s t r i c t p e r m i s s i o n to conduct study - A p r i l 1982 Q u e s t i o n n a i r e development J u l y - August 1981 J u l y - August 1982 Q u e s t i o n n a i r e p i l o t i n g : s tage one J u l y August 1981 stage two May June 1982 A d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f q u e s t i o n n a i r e June 1983 I n te rv i ew q u e s t i o n s development May June 1983 I n te rv iews conducted August 1983 36 C. SAMPLE The study sampled parents of selected students in grades six and seven at four elementary schools i n a large B r i t i s h Columbia I n t e r i o r school d i s t r i c t . The reason for choosing the parents of grade six and seven students was that such parents have children that have been in the school system long enough to have participated i n many writing a c t i v i t i e s both at home and at school. These parents are more l i k e l y to have had experiences with, and have opinions about, t h e i r children's involvement i n w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . Four d i f f e r e n t schools were selected to provide a s t a t i s t i c a l l y large enough sample and to supply a d i v e r s i t y of home environments and socio-economic circumstances for the study. The four schools served a suburban community, a semi-rural community near a larger center, a small resort town, and a combined suburban community and r u r a l area. Students were placed into groups by t h e i r teachers a f t e r careful consideration was given to each student's o v e r a l l a b i l i t y in written composition (Appendix J l i s t s a l l of the guidelines which teachers used to make these decisions). In each of the four schools, ten students at each grade l e v e l formed a group of more e f f e c t i v e writers, making a t o t a l group of 80 more e f f e c t i v e writers. In the same way, 80 less e f f e c t i v e writers were chosen, bringing the t o t a l number 37 of s e l e c t e d students t o 160. The parents of these students formed the sample. D. QUESTIONNAIRE DEVELOPMENT Wondering about whether or not the home background of students has any i n f l u e n c e on the s k i l l w i t h which they w r i t e prompted the c u r r e n t study. Questions e x p l o r i n g t h i s area were developed i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with c o l l e a g u e s and by examining s i m i l a r r e s e a r c h done by Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) , Durkin ( I 9 6 6 ) , and C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) . Four c a t e g o r i e s of q u e s t i o n s f o r t h i s study were designed 1 ) Reading and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n and t h e i r p a r e n t s , 2) Background i n f o r m a t i o n ( i n c l u d i n g q u e s t i o n s about r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s i n the home, c o n d i t i o n s i n the home, and p a r e n t s ' e d u c a t i o n ) , 3) At-home l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s of c h i l d r e n , and k) P a r e n t a l o p i n i o n s about t h e i r r o l e s i n h e l p i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n l e a r n the s k i l l s o f r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g . A copy of the f i n a l v e r s i o n of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e i s found i n Appendix A. E. PILOTING OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE The q u e s t i o n n a i r e was p i l o t e d i n two s t a g e s . An i n i t i a l , l o n g e r v e r s i o n of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e was p i l o t e d 38 u s i n g a c l a s s o f t eache r s who were i n the p roces s of comp le t i ng a graduate p r o f e s s i o n a l educa t i on course d u r i n g a summer s c h o o l s e s s i o n . As a r e s u l t , twenty-two o f an o r i g i n a l f i f t y - t h r e e q u e s t i o n s were d e l e t e d from the q u e s t i o n n a i r e because they were judged l e s s important than o ther q u e s t i o n s . Ques t i ons which were d e l e t e d concerned such t o p i c s as f a m i l y s i z e , rooms i n the home, p a r e n t s ' r e a d i n g h a b i t s , c h i l d r e n ' s r e a d i n g h a b i t s , c h i l d r e n ' s j ob s , and f u t u r e p l an s f o r the c h i l d r e n . The rema in ing t h i r t y - o n e q u e s t i o n s were more d i r e c t l y concerned w i t h the c h i l d ' s w r i t i n g e x p e r i e n c e s . Many of the rema in ing q u e s t i o n s were reworded or r e s t r u c t u r e d as a r e s u l t o f s u g g e s t i o n s . A group of pa ren t s who r e g u l a r l y v o l u n t e e r e d t h e i r s e r v i c e s as h e l p e r s i n an e lementary s c h o o l l i b r a r y and t e a c h i n g s t a f f i n the t a r g e t s choo l s p i l o t e d the q u e s t i o n n a i r e at the second s t a g e . Whi le t h i s i s a skewed p o p u l a t i o n , i t he lped to i d e n t i f y some weaknesses and p l a ce s where f u r t h e r e d i t i n g was needed. For example, a q u e s t i o n c o n c e r n i n g f a m i l y income was d e l e t e d from the q u e s t i o n n a i r e as a r e s u l t of t h i s second s tage of p i l o t i n g . A d d i t i o n a l l y , some minor adjustments were made to s e v e r a l q u e s t i o n s i n word ing or i n d e l e t i n g p a r t o f the 39 q u e s t i o n . There was a l s o a s e c t i o n added to the q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n c e r n i n g the types o f w r i t i n g which pa rent s do on the job or a t home. F. METHOD OF QUESTIONNAIRE ADMINISTRATION A c o v e r i n g l e t t e r e x p l a i n i n g the q u e s t i o n n a i r e was sent home to pa ren t s of p u p i l s who had been p l a c e d i n to the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or the group o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . (Appendix B c o n t a i n s the c o v e r i n g l e t t e r ) . The l e t t e r s were addressed to the mothers of the p u p i l s s i n c e i n most cases the mother would be ab le to p r o v i d e the most e x t e n s i v e i n f o r m a t i o n about the background and e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Parent s were r e a s s u r e d t h a t t h e i r responses were comp le te l y anonymous. No names were w r i t t e n on q u e s t i o n n a i r e s or on the enve lopes i n which they were r e t u r n e d . Parents were reques ted to s e a l the completed q u e s t i o n n a i r e i n a s m a l l e r envelope which was p r o v i d e d and then to i n s e r t the q u e s t i o n n a i r e i n i t s s e a l e d envelope i n t o a l a r g e r one which was a l s o p r o v i d e d . A f t e r w r i t i n g t h e i r names on the l a r g e r enve lope , they were asked to r e t u r n the q u e s t i o n n a i r e to the s c h o o l w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The s c h o o l s e c r e t a r y then c o l l e c t e d the q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , checked the names o f f a master l i s t and d i s c a r d e d the l a r g e r enve lopes . When the r e s e a r c h e r r e c e i v e d the 40 q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , they were s e a l e d i n unmarked enve lopes , and the anonymity o f the respondents was thus p r o t e c t e d . Fo l l ow -up on unreturned q u e s t i o n n a i r e s was c a r r i e d out by the p r i n c i p a l or a pe r son whom he de s i gna ted i n each s c h o o l and the c la s s room teacher s o f the s t u d e n t s , who reminded those who had not r e t u r n e d the q u e s t i o n n a i r e s a f t e r approx imate l y a week had e l a p s e d . In most cases t h i s proved to be rea sonab ly e f f e c t i v e , as can be seen from a response r a t e of over 75 p e r c e n t . The r a t e at which q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were r e t u r n e d by pa rent s o f s tudents i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (81 p e r c e n t ) was much h i g h e r than the r a t e a t which pa ren t s of s tudent s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e t u r n e d t h e i r q u e s t i o n n a i r e s (65 p e r c e n t ) . One hundred twenty-one q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were answered and r e t u r n e d from the whole sample o f 160 making the response r a t e f o r the sample 76 p e r c e n t . G. INTERVIEW DEVELOPMENT AND PILOTING Ques t ions bes t s u i t e d to use i n the i n t e r v i e w s were those c o n c e r n i n g the more s u b j e c t i v e a spec t s o f home env i ronment, those which a q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o u l d not uncover. A l l of the q u e s t i o n s used i n the i n t e r v i e w s were des i gned to be open-ended so t h a t they c o u l d serve as s t a r t i n g p o i n t s f o r e x p l o r a t i o n and d i s c u s s i o n o f 41 c h i l d r e n ' s w r i t i n g experiences. Topics which the questions concerned were: 1) Help which parents gave when t h e i r ch i ldren were doing w r i t i n g at home 2) Help which parents gave to t h e i r c h i l d r e n when they were i n i t i a l l y l earn ing to read 3) More information about how c h i l d r e n spent t h e i r out-of -school time 4) The c h i l d ' s early experiences in reading 5) Information about discussions between parents and teachers which may or may not have taken place 6) Information about steps taken by parents to help t h e i r c h i l d when they encountered d i f f i c u l t i e s with schoolwork 7) More information about c h i l d r e n ' s t e l e v i s i o n viewing habits 8) Parents' opinions about the purpose of education 9) Descr ipt ions of c h i l d r e n and t h e i r react ions to c e r t a i n s i tuat ions 10) How the schools might better inform parents about what i s happening at school (A complete interview agenda is found i n Appendix C) The interviewer p i l o t e d the interview procedure 42 w i th f r i e n d s and a c q u a i n t a n c e s . As a r e s u l t o f p i l o t i n g , the word ing of c e r t a i n q u e s t i o n s was changed to improve c l a r i t y and ambiguous q u e s t i o n s were reworded. Tones of v o i c e and mannerisms which made respondents uncomfortab le were e l i m i n a t e d . H. METHOD OF INTERVIEW ADMINISTRATION Ten parent s were chosen u s i ng a s t r a t i f i e d random sampl ing t e c h n i q u e . T h i s sampl ing techn ique employed the f o l l o w i n g s t e p s : 1. A l l q u e s t i o n n a i r e respondents were a s s i gned a two d i g i t number. 2. Us ing a t a b l e o f random numbers, respondents were s e l e c t e d f o r i n t e r v i e w i n g purpose s . 3. The group of i n t e r v i e w e e s (n=10) matched the sample (n=l60) i n percentages o f parent s o f males and females and i n percentages who were pa ren t s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . 4.. Respondents were s e l e c t e d u n t i l the match ing d e s c r i b e d above was completed. T h i s procedure ensured tha t t he re was a p r o p o r t i o n a t e number o f males and females i n the i n t e r v i e w group to the numbers o f s e l e c t e d s t u d e n t s . I n te rv iewees were c o n t a c t e d f i r s t by l e t t e r (a copy o f t h i s l e t t e r i s found i n Appendix D) and then by te lephone to arrange a conven ient t ime f o r the i n t e r v i e w s to take p l a c e . 43 I. RATIONALE Ques t ions on the n e w l y - c r e a t e d survey d e a l t w i th the t o p i c s o f r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s , home background i n f o r m a t i o n , l e i s u r e - t i m e a c t i v i t i e s , and p a r e n t a l o p i n i o n s . Top ic 1 : Reading and W r i t i n g A c t i v i t i e s The i n i t i a l s e c t i o n o f the q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n t a i n e d twenty-one q u e s t i o n s on the r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s which took p l a c e i n the homes o f r e sponden t s . Four of these q u e s t i o n s d e a l t w i th p a r e n t s ' w r i t i n g h a b i t s , s i x o f them concerned the w r i t i n g e x p e r i e n c e s o f s t u d e n t s , and seven of the q u e s t i o n s were about how pa ren t s i n t e r a c t e d w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n c o n c e r n i n g the w r i t t e n ass ignments c h i l d r e n do f o r s c h o o l . There were two q u e s t i o n s each d e a l i n g w i t h s t u d e n t s ' homework h a b i t s and the f requency w i th which pa ren t s read a l oud to t h e i r c h i l d r e n . As mentioned i n Chapter 2 , both Durk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) and C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) found tha t more r e a d i n g a l oud b e h a v i o r took p l ace i n the homes of e a r l y reader s than i n the homes o f those who d i d not read e a r l y . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) a l s o determined t h a t those who reached h i g h e r l e v e l s of achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h had been read to more r e g u l a r l y than had those who reached lower l e v e l s o f ach ievement. Ques t i ons i n the c u r r e n t study e x p l o r e r e a d i n g a loud by parent s t o c h i l d r e n who read f o r themselves and c h i l d r e n who do not read f o r themselves i n r e l a t i o n to o v e r a l l s k i l l i n w r i t i n g . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) and Goodacre ( 1 9 7 0 ) found t h a t the 44 amount of t ime spent on homework ass ignments was r e l a t e d to the s t u d e n t s ' achievement i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h . The p re sen t s tudy asks q u e s t i o n s about how much time i s spent on homework and how o f t e n homework i s done. Durk in (1966) found tha t e a r l y r e a d e r s tended to show i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t at the age of f o u r . In o rder to f i n d out what the ages o f i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t among those c l a s s i f i e d as more e f f e c t i v e and l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s a r e , a s i m i l a r q u e s t i o n was asked i n t h i s s tudy . Durk in determined tha t among e a r l y r e a d e r s , p r i n t i n g way u s u a l l y l e a r n e d be fo re r e a d i n g or they were l e a r n e d at the same t ime . T h i s i s , of cou r se , the oppos i te o f the o rder i n which s choo l s u s u a l l y teach them. The c u r r e n t study attempted to f i n d out what o rde r o f l e a r n i n g the s k i l l s i s a s s o c i a t e d wi th more e f f e c t i v e and l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s at the grades s i x and seven l e v e l . Durk in (1966) a l s o r e p o r t e d tha t n e a r l y a l l e a r l y r e a d e r s p r i n t e d be fo re e n t e r i n g grade one. The p re sen t s tudy a s c e r t a i n e d the l e v e l of p r i n t i n g a b i l i t y which was a c h i e v e d by s tudents p r i o r to grade one who were l a t e r c l a s s i f i e d as more e f f e c t i v e and l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . Seven q u e s t i o n s were asked about what events took p l a c e i n the home j u s t p r i o r to and d u r i n g the comp le t i on of a w r i t i n g ass ignment and what events r e g u l a r l y took 45 p l a c e a t home when a w r i t t e n assignment which had a l r e a d y r e c e i v e d a mark from a t e a c h e r was brought home. Questions were about such t o p i c s as the types of h e l p parents gave t h e i r c h i l d r e n d u r i n g the completion of a w r i t t e n assignment, and t h e i r responses t o h i s work. Such q u e s t i o n s as these have had l i t t l e e x p l o r a t i o n , but re c e n t r e s e a r c h suggests t h a t t h i s p a r t o f the w r i t i n g process c o u l d have been an i n f l u e n c e on the q u a l i t y of work produced by stu d e n t s . The w r i t i n g h a b i t s of parents were a l s o e x p l o r e d as an area t h a t c o u l d have an e f f e c t on the s k i l l w ith which c h i l d r e n w r i t e . Questions were asked about l e t t e r w r i t i n g frequency and types of w r i t i n g done a t home and at work by mothers. Topic 2: Home Background Information There was a t o t a l of twelve q u e s t i o n s i n t h i s p a r t of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Two of them asked about books and chalkboards i n the home, three of them d e a l t with the experiences of mothers who worked ou t s i d e the home, three of them concerned the presence of children's n a t u r a l parents i n the home, and f o u r q u e s t i o n s were about the e d u c a t i o n a l and o c c u p a t i o n a l l e v e l s of p a r e n t s . As s t a t e d i n Chapter 2, Monk (1958) examined the a v a i l i b i l i t y of books f o r c h i l d r e n at home and s t a t e d t h a t a r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t e d between the number of books 46 f o r c h i l d r e n i n the home and the w r i t t e n achievement of stud e n t s . Durkin (1966) found t h a t the home of every e a r l y reader i n her study contained a chalkboard. T h i s was such an i n t e r e s t i n g r e s u l t t h a t the present study attempted to a s c e r t a i n i f there was any tendency f o r the homes of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s t o c o n t a i n chalkboards. S e v e r a l r e s e a r c h e r s have i n v e s t i g a t e d the r o l e which mothers working o u t s i d e the home pl a y s i n a f f e c t i n g d i f f e r e n t areas of student achievement. F r a s e r ( 1 9 7 3 ) found no r e l a t i o n s h i p between mothers working o u t s i d e the home and t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s s c h o o l p r o g r e s s , Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) found h i s r e s u l t s on t h i s q u e s t i o n i n c o n c l u s i v e , and C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) found that few of the mothers of e a r l y readers worked. The present study asks q u e s t i o n s on t h i s t o p i c t o augment what i s known about i t . F r a s e r ( 1 9 7 3 ) s t a t e s t h a t the e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l a t t a i n e d by parents i s r e l a t e d t o c h i l d r e n ' s progress at s c h o o l . The c u r r e n t study i n v e s t i g a t e s t h i s q u e s t i o n i n o r d e r t o c l a r i f y t h i s s u b j e c t . There i s g e n e r a l agreement between Monk (195 8 ) and F r a s e r ( 1 9 7 3 ) t h a t the f a t h e r ' s occupation e x e r t s some kin d of i n f l u e n c e on h i s c h i l d ' s s c h o o l p r o g r e s s . Monk s t a t e s t h a t t h e r e i s a " d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p " and F r a s e r c a l l s i t a " c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p " . C l a r k (19?6) found a 47 g r e a t d i v e r s i t y of occupations among the f a t h e r s of e a r l y r e a d e r s . The purpose of a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s about the f a t h e r ' s occupation i s to add to the knowledge we a l r e a d y have. L i t t l e e x p l o r a t i o n of the occupations h e l d by mothers of students has been done b e f o r e . T h e r e f o r e , to explore t h i s area, the present study asked q u e s t i o n s about the types of jobs h e l d by mothers. T o p i c 3s L e i s u r e Time A c t i v i t i e s Two q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the t e l e v i s i o n viewing h a b i t s of students, s i x q u e s t i o n s about which a c t i v i t i e s students choose to do when alone, and one q u e s t i o n d e a l i n g w i t h the source of s t u d e n t s ' i n f o r m a t i o n about world events made up the p a r t of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e concerned w i t h how l e i s u r e time was spent. As d e s c r i b e d i n Chapter 2 , Durkin ( 1 9 6 6 ) and C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) found t h a t e a r l y readers watch t e l e v i s i o n s e l e c t i v e l y and they a l s o watch i t l e s s o f t e n than do those who do not read e a r l y . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) found t h a t those who achieved lower marks i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h watched t e l e v i s i o n more o f t e n than d i d those who achieved h i g h e r marks. J u s t what e f f e c t t e l e v i s i o n v i e w i n g might have on the s k i l l w ith which c h i l d r e n w r i t e as w e l l as what r e s t r i c t i o n s , i f any, are p l a c e d on c h i l d r e n ' s v i e w i n g were the purposes f o r a s k i n g about t e l e v i s i o n v i e w i n g 48 i n the p re sen t s tudy . Durk in ( I 9 6 6 ) found t h a t e a r l y r e a d e r s both p r e f e r r e d to p l a y a lone and were more ab le to p a r t i c i p a t e i n q u i e t a c t i v i t i e s when a lone than were those who d i d not read e a r l y . C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) suppor ted t h i s f i n d i n g when she s t a t e d t h a t e a r l y r e a d e r s she examined had an a b i l i t y to occupy themselves when a l o n e . To e x p l o r e f u r t h e r the whole a rea o f s o l i t a r y b e h a v i o r , and c h o i c e s of a c t i v i t i e s when a l o n e , a s e r i e s of s i x q u e s t i o n s was asked about t h i s t o p i c i n the c u r r e n t s tudy . Monk ( 1 9 5 8 ) found t h a t s tudent s who had ach ieved h i gh marks i n w r i t t e n E n g l i s h tended t o use r e a d i n g r a t h e r than l i s t e n i n g to get most of t h e i r i n f o r m a t i o n about wor ld e v e n t s . Consequent l y , the q u e s t i o n c o n c e r n i n g t h i s i n the p r e s e n t study was s imply a f o l l o w - u p , to see what source s tudent s c l a s s i f i e d as more e f f e c t i v e or l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s used to get t h e i r i n f o r m a t i o n about wor ld e v e n t s . T o p i c _ P a r e n t s ' Op in ions The s e c t i o n of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e on p a r e n t a l .op in ions was made up ofs (a) two q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the s a t i s f a c t i o n o f pa rent s w i th s c h o o l i n s t r u c t i o n i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g , (b) a s i n g l e q u e s t i o n about the amount of i n t e r e s t t ha t s tudent s show i n s c h o o l , (c) f i v e q u e s t i o n s d e a l i n g w i th what a c t i v i t i e s the i d e a l parent 4 9 shou ld do, and (d) e i g h t q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the a c t i v i t i e s tha t pa rent s f e l t t h e i r c h i l d r e n shou ld do. As was mentioned i n Chapter 2 , Du rk in ( 1 9 6 6 ) found t h a t pa ren t s of e a r l y r eader s were not as s a t i s f i e d w i th s c h o o l i n s t r u c t i o n as were the pa ren t s o f s tudents who d i d not read e a r l y . Two q u e s t i o n s i n the c u r r e n t study were des igned to g i ve i n f o r m a t i o n on t h i s i s s u e . C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) s t a t e d t h a t v e r b a l i n t e r a c t i o n between parent s and c h i l d r e n was welcomed by the pa ren t s i n the homes of e a r l y r e a d e r s . Goodacre (1970) f e l t t h a t an examinat ion of p a r e n t ' s m o t i v a t i o n to h e l p i n t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s e d u c a t i o n was an important s tep to under s t and ing the p a r e n t s ' r o l e . Ques t ions which the p re sen t s tudy asks exp lo re the p a r e n t s ' m o t i v a t i o n to h e l p i n the e d u c a t i o n o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n as w e l l as the way i n which they d e a l w i th t h e i r c h i l d r e n a t home i n o rder to unders tand b e t t e r how mothers and f a t h e r s view t h e i r p a r e n t i n g r o l e s . A s e r i e s of e i g h t q u e s t i o n s about p a r e n t a l op in i on s c o n c e r n i n g a c t i v i t i e s c h i l d r e n shou ld do was des i gned as a way o f f i n d i n g out the a t t i t u d e s of parent s toward home management i s s u e s . The a c t i v i t i e s covered i n t h i s s e c t i o n range from academic ones such as homework to everyday occu r rences such as g rocery shopp ing . Responses 50 helped d e f i n e p a r e n t s ' a t t i t u d e s about what they found a p p r o p r i a t e f o r t h e i r c h i l d r e n to do. The amount o f i n t e r e s t shown by c h i l d r e n i n t h e i r s c h o o l i n g i s an a rea to which one q u e s t i o n i s devoted i n order to a s c e r t a i n i f the " e n t h u s i a s t i c " and " adven tu re - l i k e " q u a l i t y o f the e a r l y r e a d e r s ' home d e s c r i b e d by C l a r k ( 1 9 7 6 ) and Durk in ( I 9 6 6 ) c a r r i e s over the year s i n t o the upper grades and from the home to the s c h o o l . J . DATA ORGANIZATION Three types of data were c o l l e c t e d by the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . There was d i r e c t l y q u a n t i f i a b l e da ta , data which needed t r a n s l a t i o n i n o rder to make i t q u a n t i f i a b l e , and non q u a n t i f i a b l e d a t a . F o r t y - n i n e o f the 58 q u e s t i o n s i n the survey y i e l d e d d i r e c t l y q u a n t i f i a b l e da ta . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n was c o l l e c t e d i n response to m u l t i p l e - c h o i c e q u e s t i o n s and L i k e r t s c a l e s . For example, 1 . a) I n d i c a t e the number o f l e t t e r s you u s u a l l y w r i t e a t home. 1 . one or more each week 2 . one or two each month 3. fewer than one per month h. none - I use o ther means to c o n t a c t f r i e n d s and r e l a t i v e s T e l l how much you agree or d i s ag ree w i th the statement below. 2 9 . a) The i d e a l pa rent shou ld check h i s c h i l d ' s homework r e g u l a r l y . s t r o n g l y agree agree not sure d i s a g ree s t r o n g l y d i s a g ree 51 Nine questions of the 58 in the survey produced data that was quantifiable a f t e r being translated. Questions producing such data were either short answer, f i l l - i n - t h e - b l a n k questions, or a combination of multiple choice and f i l l - i n - t h e - b l a n k questions as the following examples i l l u s t r a t e . ; 1. c) What other types of writing do you do at home? 7. Which type of writing l i s t e d below would you say your c h i l d does best? 1. l e t t e r s 4. notes 2. stories 5« d i a r i e s 3. poems 6. other (please describe) A t h i r d type of data co l l e c t e d by the questionnaire was the u n s o l i c i t e d comments of parents. Such comments appeared on the back of the l a s t page or in the body of the questionnaire. The comment below was written on the back of the l a s t page of the questionnaire by a respondent: "I f e e l you are being discriminatory by asking mothers to f i l l t h i s out. Why not either parent?" Once a l l quantifiable data had been d i r e c t l y coded a f t e r t r a n s l a t i o n (where necessary) the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Data Entry Service was used to enter the data into the computer for subsequent s t a t i s t i c a l 5 2 a n a l y s i s . No data c o l l e c t e d from i n t e r v i e w s were q u a n t i f i e d . Such data took the form of sho r t answers to q u e s t i o n s and the j o t t e d impres s ions of the i n t e r v i e w e e ' s op in i on s by the r e s e a r c h e r . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n was summarized i n w r i t t e n form and r e p o r t e d a l ong w i t h q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e s u l t s i n Chapter F o u r . K. STATISTICAL TREATMENTS To a s c e r t a i n i f a s s o c i a t i o n s e x i s t e d between any of the f a c t o r s of home environment which were asked about i n the q u e s t i o n n a i r e and the s t u d e n t s ' s k i l l i n w r i t i n g t h r e e s t a t i s t i c a l p rocedures were employed. A s imple f requency d i s t r i b u t i o n f o r a l l v a r i a b l e s on the q u e s t i o n n a i r e was compi led so tha t sample t rends c o u l d e a s i l y be spo t ted on a q u e s t i o n . A more u s e f u l c r o s s - t a b u l a t i o n of a l l responses by group (group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ) was then employed. Us ing the c r o s s - t a b u l a t i o n by group, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f the two groups were i s o l a t e d and d e s c r i b e d . In o rder to dec ide i f the d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two Sample t e s t was used. I t t e s t e d the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the d i f f e r e n c e s between the responses of the group of more 53 e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the responses of the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s on the v a r i a b l e s . In h i s Nonparametr ic S t a t i s t i c s , S idney S i e g e l (1956) e x p l a i n s t h a t the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-sample t e s t determines whether two independent samples ( i n t h i s case the two groups - more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ) have been drawn from the same p o p u l a t i o n (or from p o p u l a t i o n s w i th the same d i s t r i b u t i o n ) . He goes on to e x p l a i n t h a t the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-sample t e s t i s an e f f i c i e n t way to determine whether two s m a l l samples are drawn from p o p u l a t i o n s which d i f f e r i n any r e s p e c t at a l l . Because the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-sample t e s t i s s e n s i t i v e to v a r i o u s d i f f e r e n c e s i n samples ( f o r example d i f f e r e n c e s i n c e n t r a l tendency, d i f f e r e n c e s i n d i s p e r s i o n , d i f f e r e n c e s i n skewness, e t c . ) i t was chosen over such t e s t s as the Kann-V.'hitney U t e s t which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s e n s i t i v e to d i f f e r e n c e s i n c e n t r a l tendency . A t w o - t a i l e d p r o b a b i l i t y s t a t i s t i c , a Kolmogorov-Smirnov " Z " s c o r e , and an a b s o l u t e va lue of the d i f f e r e n c e (D) between the maximum observed cumula t i ve s tep f u n c t i o n s of the two groups were r e p o r t e d f o r each v a r i a b l e . CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS A. INTRODUCTION Examinat ion of the r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of s tudent s and pa rent s r e v e a l e d d i f f e r e n c e s between members of the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and members of the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . These d i f f e r e n c e s are summarized below under the headings S i g n i f i c a n t V a r i a b l e s , V a r i a b l e s Which Approached S i g n i f i c a n c e , V a r i a b l e s Which Were Not S i g n i f i c a n t but i n the Hypothes i zed D i r e c t i o n , and V a r i a b l e s on Which There Was L i t t l e D i f f e r e n c e . 1. S i g n i f i c a n t V a r i a b l e s On the f o l l o w i n g v a r i a b l e s a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e (at the . 0 5 l e v e l o f c o n f i d e n c e ) was found between the responses of the pa ren t s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the responses of pa ren t s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . A Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t was used to t e s t f o r these d i f f e r e n c e s . a) More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s spent more of t h e i r l e i s u r e t ime w r i t i n g than d i d l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . b) Parents o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s read a loud to t h e i r c h i l d r e n more r e g u l a r l y than d i d the pa rent s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s a f t e r the c h i l d r e n had l e a r n e d to read f o r themse lves . 5 4 55 c) The jobs h e l d by f a t h e r s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were c l a s s e d as more h i g h l y s k i l l e d than were the jobs h e l d by f a t h e r s o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . d) As an a c t i v i t y to occupy themselves when a l o n e , more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s chose t e l e v i s i o n v i ew ing l e s s o f t e n than l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d i d . e) Parents o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s expres sed s t r o n g e r s a t i s f a c t i o n w i th r e a d i n g i n s t r u c t i o n i n the s choo l s than d i d the pa rent s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . 2. V a r i a b l e s Which Approached S i g n i f i c a n c e The f o l l o w i n g d i f f e r e n c e s between responses from the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s approached s i g n i f i c a n c e when t e s t e d w i t h a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . a) More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s showed an i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t at an e a r l i e r age than d i d l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . b) The pa ren t s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s agreed more s t r o n g l y than d i d the pa rent s o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s t h a t pa ren t s shou ld check t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s homework r e g u l a r l y . 3. V a r i a b l e s Which Were Not S i g n i f i c a n t but i n the Hypo thes i zed D i r e c t i o n a) The mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e p o r t e d 56 do ing more d i f f e r e n t k inds of w r i t i n g a t home and a t work than d i d the mothers of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . Parents of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s read through t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s w r i t t e n ass ignments more r e g u l a r l y and c o n t a c t e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s t e a c h e r l e s s o f t e n than d i d the pa ren t s of l e s s ' e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were r e p o r t e d to work on homework more o f t e n each week than were l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e c e i v e d l e s s h e l p from t h e i r pa rent s w i t h r e v i s i n g and p r o o f r e a d i n g w r i t t e n ass ignments than d i d l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . Parents o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s read a loud to t h e i r c h i l d r e n b e f o r e they c o u l d read f o r themselves more o f t e n than the pa rent s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d i d . In the homes of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s there were more books f o r c h i l d r e n than i n the homes of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . The e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l and o c c u p a t i o n a l s k i l l l e v e l possessed by the mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s was h i g h e r than the l e v e l s possessed by 57 the mothers of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s watched fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week and had more r e s t r i c t i o n s p l a c e d on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n v i e w i n g by t h e i r pa rent s than d i d the l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were d e s c r i b e d as p l a y i n g a lone more o f t e n than were l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s p r e f e r r e d indoor a c t i v i t i e s to outdoor ones more s t r o n g l y than d i d l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were more i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i r s c h o o l i n g than were l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . The pa ren t s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s expressed s t r o n g e r agreement than the parent s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d i d w i th the ideas tha t c h i l d r e n shou ld be read t o r e g u l a r l y when s m a l l and t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld h e l p at home by do ing r e g u l a r cho re s . The pa ren t s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d i d not agree as s t r o n g l y as d i d the parent s o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s w i th the statement t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld be ab le to make most o f t h e i r own c h o i c e s about books to read and programs to watch. More s k i l l i n p r i n t i n g was r e p o r t e d upon grade 58 one en t r y by more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s than by l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s , o) More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were r e p o r t e d to spend l onge r p e r i o d s of t ime on t h e i r homework than were l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s , p) More o f the mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s worked ou t s i de the home s i n c e t h e i r c h i l d r e n had been born than had mothers of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . q). Fa the r s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s possessed h i ghe r l e v e l s of e d u c a t i o n than d i d f a t h e r s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . r ) More e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were r e p o r t e d to choose r e a d i n g as an a c t i v i t y t o occupy themselves when a lone more o f t e n than were l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . s) Making th i ng s w i th t h e i r hands was an a c t i v i t y which was chosen more r e g u l a r l y by the more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s than by the l e s s e f f e c t i v e .wr i te r s . t ) Parents of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s more s t r o n g l y agreed t h a t pa rent s shou ld v o l u n t e e r to he lp w i th s c h o o l a c t i v i t i e s than d i d the pa rent s o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . u) Mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s wrote l e t t e r s more f r e q u e n t l y than d i d the mothers o f l e s s 59 e f f e c t i v e writers, v) Parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers offered more help to t h e i r children with getting started on writing assignments than did parents of more eff e c t i v e writers, w) The parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers more strongly agreed that children should help pay for the b i l l s at home than did the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers. Variables on Which There Was L i t t l e Difference a) L i t t l e difference between the order i n which children in the two groups learned the s k i l l s of reading and writing was found. b) L i t t l e difference in the number of chalkboards found in the homes of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the number found in the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers was found. c) Parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers and parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers expressed the same strong agreement with statements that parents should help teach t h e i r children reading and writing and parents should be aware of new teaching methods. d) Both the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers strongly 60 agreed t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld be read to r e g u l a r l y when they are s m a l l , e) There was l i t t l e d i f f e r e n c e between the op in ions h e l d by the pa ren t s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the op in i on s o f pa rent s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s c o n c e r n i n g two " c h i l d r e n s h o u l d " v a r i a b l Both groups s t r o n g l y agreed t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld complete t h e i r homework w i thout a s k i n g many q u e s t i o n s and t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld h e l p at home by c l e a n i n g t h e i r rooms and do ing r e g u l a r chores Both groups of pa ren t s a l s o ag reed , a l though l e s s s t r o n g l y , t h a t c h i l d r e n shou ld h e l p do the g rocery shopp ing . B. READING AND WRITING ACTIVITIES The twenty-two q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s r e v e a l e d d i f f e r e n c e s between the a c t i v i t i e s of the members 'of the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the a c t i v i t i e s of the members of the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . For example, pa rent s of s tudents i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s wrote more l e t t e r s , read through the w r i t t e n work t h a t was brought home by t h e i r c h i l d r e n , o f f e r e d more d i v e r s i f i e d he lp i n a i d i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n w i th l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t , and read a l oud to t h e i r c h i l d r e n be fo re t h e i r c h i l d r e n cou ld read f o r themselves more r e g u l a r l y than d i d pa rent s of s tudent s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . S tudents i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s brought home more w r i t t e n ass ignments f o r t h e i r parents to see, d i d more d i f f e r e n t k inds o f w r i t i n g a t home more o f t e n , e x h i b i t e d an i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t a t an e a r l i e r age, and spent more n i g h t s each week and l onge r p e r i o d s of time on homework ass ignments than d i d the s tudent s i n the group o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . 1. P a r e n t s ' L e t t e r W r i t i n g Hab i t s L e t t e r s were w r i t t e n more r e g u l a r l y by mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s than by mothers o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s but the d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t . By t o t a l l i n g the l a s t t h ree columns i n Tab le 1 i t can be seen t h a t 91 p e r c e n t of the mothers of the s tudent s i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e p o r t e d w r i t i n g l e t t e r s at l e a s t once per month wh i le 85 percen t o f the mothers o f s tudents i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e p o r t e d t h i s . However, these d i f f e r e n c e s were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of con f i dence u s i n g a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t . Whi le fewer f a t h e r s than mothers wrote l e t t e r s on a r e g u l a r b a s i s , more l e t t e r s were w r i t t e n by the f a t h e r s of s tuden t s i n the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s than by f a t h e r s of s tudent s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and t h i s was a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e . Look ing 6 2 Table 1 The l e t t e r writing freauency of mothers expressed in percentage group none fewer than one'monthly one or two one or more monthly weekly more eff e c t i v e 9 3 8 3 3 2 0 less e f f e c t i v e 1 5 4 4 o 3 1 1 0 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Tes t Z D p decision 0 . 7 2 1 . 1 3 2 4 . 6 7 6 NS The l e t t e r writing frequency of fathers expressed in percentage group none fewer than one monthly one or two one or more monthly weekly more ef f e c t i v e 4 5 3 9 7 2 less e f f e c t i v e 7 7 1 7 4 3 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t Z D p decision 1 . 4 2 7 . 2 6 2 0 . 0 3 4 S i g n i f i c a n t 6 3 at the f i r s t column of Tab le 1 shows tha t wh i l e 4 5 p e r c e n t of the f a t h e r s of s tudent s i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s wrote no l e t t e r s , a much l a r g e r percentage ( 7 7 pe rcen t ) of the f a t h e r s of s tudent s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d i d t h i s . The d i f f e r e n c e s between the l e t t e r w r i t i n g f r e q u e n c i e s of f a t h e r s i n the two groups were s i g n i f i c a n t a t the . 0 5 l e v e l of c o n f i d e n c e u s i n g a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t . 2 . Mother s ' Home and Work W r i t i n g Hab i t s More w r i t i n g was done at home and a t work by the mothers o f s tuden t s i n the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s - than by the mothers of s tudents i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s but n e i t h e r of these d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups were s i g n i f i c a n t at the . 0 5 l e v e l of c o n f i d e n c e . As Tab le 2 i n d i c a t e s , a l a r g e r p r o p o r t i o n of mothers of s tudents i n the group o f more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s ( 3 3 percen t ) r e p o r t e d do ing two or t h ree k inds of w r i t i n g a t home than d i d mothers o f s tudent s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s where 14 percent r e p o r t e d do ing two or th ree k inds o f w r i t i n g at home. The d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups on t h i s q u e s t i o n were not s i g n i f i c a n t a t the . 0 5 l e v e l o f con f i dence u s i n g a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample T e s t . Appendix E l i s t s the types of w r i t i n g which mothers r e p o r t e d do ing at home. Examples i n c l u d e 64 notes to f a m i l y members, t a k i n g notes f o r study purposes , r e c o r d keep ing f o r v o l u n t e e r o r g a n i z a t i o n s , poem and s t o r y w r i t i n g , and o ther forms o f w r i t i n g . Tab le 2 The home and work w r i t i n g h a b i t s o f mothers expressed i n percentage w r i t i n g a t home group no 1 k i nd o f 2 k inds o f 3 k inds of w r i t i n g w r i t i n g w r i t i n g w r i t i n g 8„:«k. 3 0 3 6 2 9 * e f f e c t i v e 4 2 8 6 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t Z D p d e c i s i o n 0.647 .1187 .797 NS w r i t i n g at work more e f f e c t i v e 48 ' 3 2 1 6 „ „ l e f ? 6 2 2 3 1 5 0 e f f e c t i v e ^ J Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t Z D p d e c i s i o n 0 . 9 5 6 . 1 7 5 6 . 3 2 0 IMS 65 Table 2 shows that writing which was done at work was done more regularly by mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers than by mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Fifty-two percent of the mothers of students in the group of more effe c t i v e writers reported doing at least one kind of writing at work while 39 percent of the mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers reported t h i s . These differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the . 0 5 l e v e l of confidence using'a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Appendix E l i s t s the types of writing which mothers reported doing at work. Examples include l e t t e r writing, bookkeeping, charting (done by nurses), report writing, and other forms of writing. 3 . Parental Response to Written Work Which Was Brought Home When asked about t h e i r responses to written assignments which were brought home with marks on them from teachers, parents of students in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers indicated that assignments such as these were brought home more regularly and fewer contacts were made with teachers to discuss such assignments than was true i n the homes of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. However, neither of these differences between the groups were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . Discussions with respondents during interviews also 66 strongly support these differences. Interviewees who were parents of students i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers used such terms as "weekly" and " a l l the time" to describe how often t h e i r children showed them written school assignments while the parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers who were interviewed described the frequency with which they saw t h e i r children's work as "seldom" or "not often". As can be seen in Table 3» a larger proportion of the students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (51 percent) than %he proportion of students in the group of less i Table J The frequency with which marked written assignments are seen by parents expressed in percentage group no never seldom sometimes regularly response more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 3 13 32 51 2 31 32 33 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.417 .0?66 .995 NS 6? e f f e c t i v e writers (33 percent) brought home assignments regularly for t h e i r parents to see; however, th i s was not a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t difference at the . 0 5 l e v e l of confidence when tested with a Kolmogorov- Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Table 4 The responses of parents to the marked written assignments of t h e i r children expressed in percentage read through the assignment group no never seldom sometimes regularly response more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 17 87 73 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision , 0 8 7 7 . 1 6 1 1 . 4 2 5 * NS contacted the teacher to discuss the assignment more ef f e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 54 38 2 5 40 13 12 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision . 0 6 5 1 . 1 1 9 6 . 7 9 0 NS Table 4 shows that more parents of students in the 68 group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s read through t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s assignments r e g u l a r l y (87 percent) than d i d the parents of students i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (73 p e r c e n t ) . The d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Fewer parents of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (39 percent) reported that they contacted t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s teachers to discus s w r i t t e n assignments than d i d parents of students i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s (54 percent) as can be seen by adding the l a s t three columns i n Table 4. These d i f f e r e n c e s were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. 4. Students' Leisure-Time W r i t i n g Habits Students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s spent l e i s u r e time w r i t i n g more oft e n than d i d students i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and t h i s was, a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e (at the .05 l e v e l of confidence) between the two groups. A m a j o r i t y (75 percent) of the parents of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s reported that t h e i r c h i l d r e n spent time once a month or more often w r i t i n g during t h e i r l e i s u r e time while j u s t over h a l f (52 percent) of the parents i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e 6 9 writers reported t h i s . This i s revealed by adding the la s t three columns of Table. 5* These differences between the amounts of writing done at home by the groups were s i g n i f i c a n t at the . 0 5 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. When questioned about the manner in which t h e i r children used t h e i r l e i s u r e time to write, mothers indicated that students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers more regularly spent t h e i r l e i s u r e time engaged in writing than did students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 5 . Students' Early P r i n t i n g and Reading Experiences Questions about children's early p r i n t i n g experiences indicated that students in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers printed more things upon entering grade one, showed an e a r l i e r interest in learning how to p r i n t , and were offered more varied help i n learning how to print than were students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. None of these differences between the groups were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . As can be seen in Table 6 , a larger percentage of mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers ( 3 2 percent) than mothers of studnets in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers ( 1 5 percent) reported that t h e i r children printed most things when they Table 5 The frequency of writing during the leisure time of c h i l r e n expressed i n percentage group no never rarel\ response once once every 1two once d a i l y monthly weekly days or more often more eff e c t i v e 23 28 29 10 less e f f e c t i v e 6 42 20 10 14 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p 1.381 .2536 .044 decision Significant. -o o 71 T a b l e 6 The s k i l l i n p r i n t i n g which c h i l d r e n possessed upon grade one e n t r y expressed i n percentage group no d i d not p r i n t e d a p r i n t e d response p r i n t few t h i n g s most t h i n g s 67 32 77 15 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t Z D p d e c i s i o n .0794 .1458 .554 NS more e f f e c t i v e l e s s e f f e c t i v e e n t e r e d grade one. D i f f e r e n c e s i n the way the two groups responded on t h i s v a r i a b l e were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t a t the .05 l e v e l o f c o n f i d e n c e u s i n g a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample T e s t . T a b l e 7 shows t h a t 15 p e r c e n t o f the mothers of s t u d e n t s i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n showed an i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g how to p r i n t a t the ages o f f i v e or s i x w h i l e 34 p e r c e n t o f the mothers of s t u d e n t s i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s r e p o r t e d t h i s . The d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t a t the .05 l e v e l 72 Table 7 The reported ages of i n i t i a l interest in learning how to pri n t expressed in percentage group no three four f i v e : six response years years years years more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 39 46 13 33 31 27 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 1.200 .2205 .112 NS of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test, When asked about the order in which t h e i r children learned the s k i l l s of p r i n t i n g and reading, a majority of the respondents Indicated either that p r i n t i n g was learned f i r s t by the i r children or that the s k i l l s were learned at approximately the same time. Table 8 shows that both the mothers of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers gave very si m i l a r responses and no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. 73 Table 8 The order in which children learned the s k i l l s of p r i n t i n g and reading expressed i n percentage group no p r i n t i n g at the same reading response then time then reading p r i n t i n g ™°rr 0 43 41 16 e f f e c t i v e y leSS 4 17 e f f e c t i v e ° ^ ' Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision . 2 5 0 . 0 4 6 0 . 9 9 9 NS During interviews with the ten selected respondents questions about the early reading habits of children were asked. Most interviewees indicated that they did not attempt to teach t h e i r preschool children to read. Interviewees described how early interest in reading was shown by t h e i r children. The children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were described as having a very active interest in learning how to read by such phrases as: a) he r e a l l y enjoyed books, b) she picked out words and then took 74 over the reading on her own , and c) she often asked "What does that say?" The less active interest in learning how to read of the children in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers was described by such phrases as: a) he watched Sesame Street quite often , b) he didn't learn to read u n t i l age 10 , and c) he had no interest i n learning to read . Parents were also asked during interviews about how children reacted to the help which they received while learning to read. Parents of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers described the reactions of t h e i r children using such phrases as: a) he didn't notice i t , b) i t was as normal as breathing, c) he was quite excited to get reading help , d) he would often ask "Are you sure?" when we answered his questions , and e) she was eager to learn. Parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers could not describe reactions since few of them reca l l e d helping t h e i r children in learning to read. Most interviewees reported that t h e i r children could not read upon entering grade one. In both groups, 75 however, there was a single interviewee who indicated that his or her c h i l d could read upon grade one entrance. Previous research has found that early readers are often early writers also. A question for the survey was: therefore designed to ascertain whether or not more ef f e c t i v e writers might also be early writers. Mothers were asked to describe the kind of help they gave t h e i r children in learning how to p r i n t (before t h e i r children began formal i n s t r u c t i o n at school in p r i n t i n g ) . They were asked to select from these options: 1 ) I made no attempts to teach printing, 2) I showed my c h i l d how to form l e t t e r s , 3) I l e t him or her experiment on his or her own and provided materials, and 4) other: f o r example, "printed words then using phonics, sounded them out" . (Appendix F l i s t s a l l of the responses to part four of th i s question. S i g n i f i c a n t differences in the responses of the two groups to t h i s question were found. Just over half (53 percent of the respondents) indicated that they showed t h e i r children how to form l e t t e r s (option 2 ) . The help offered by the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and by mothers of students i n 7 6 the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers was quite similar i n the way i t was distributed among the choices. Since more mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers reported o f f e r i n g two or more kinds of help, the help offered by the mothers of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers was more d i v e r s i f i e d than the help offered by the mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample Test, s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found in the responses of the two groups to t h i s question. In summary, the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers reported that t h e i r children printed more things upon entering grade one than did the children in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, differences which were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. Although children in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers were reported to exhibit e a r l i e r interest in learning how to print than were children i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers and the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers offered t h e i r children more varied help i n learning how to p r i n t than the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers did, these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 77 6. Students' Homework Habits Respondents indicated that students in the group of more, ef f e c t i v e writers did homework more often and spent longer periods of time on t h e i r homework than did the students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but neither of these differences between the groups were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. Adding the l a s t two columns in Table 9 shows that a larger proportion of the mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (83 percent) than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (62 percent) reported that t h e i r children spent Table 9 The frequency with which children worked on homework assignments expressed i n percentage group no once per two or three each school response - week or nights night less often per week more ef f e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 0 17 33 50 4 35 33 28 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.209 .0385 .000 NS 78 time on two nights or more each week doing homework. However, these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample te s t . Mothers were asked how long t h e i r children usually- spent when they worked on homework. Students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were reported to spend longer periods of time on homework than were students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Adding the l a s t two columns in Table 10-shows that 83 percent of the students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers Table 10 The amount of time spent on homework assignments by children during each session of work expressed in percentage group no f i f t e e n t h i r t y f o r t y - f i v e one hour response minutes minutes minutes or or less longer 26 57 21 25 more n s ,, e f f e c t i v e 0 6 11 r^l** ^ 10 39 e f f e c t i v e ^ Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p 1.043 1.915 .227 decision NS 79 usually spent f o r t y - f i v e minutes or longer when they worked on homework while 46 percent of the students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were reported to spend th i s length of time. This difference between the groups, however, was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. These r e s u l t s , which indicate longer periods of time spent on homework by students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers than by students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, were supported by interviewees. Parents of children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers who were interviewed consistently described the amount of time t h e i r children spent on homework as greater than the amount of time spent on homework by children in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Typical descriptions of the length of time spent by students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were "one hour d a i l y " or "two hours d a i l y " while students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were t y p i c a l l y described as spending "ten minutes per day while on the bus" or "30 minutes d a i l y . " In summary, there were no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence between how long the two groups spent on t h e i r homework assignments or how often they worked on such assignments. Those in the 80 group of more ef f e c t i v e writers however, usually spent longer on t h e i r homework. 7. Writing Help given by Parents Answers to questions on the questionnaire about the kinds of help with writing given by parents to t h e i r children indicated that three common types of help were given less regularly by parents to students in the group of more effec t i v e writers than to students in the group of less effective writers but none of the differences between the groups was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . Table 11 shows that a s l i g h t l y smaller proportion of the mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (23 percent) than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (2? percent) reported that they helped t h e i r children weekly in getting started on writing assignments. This was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . Results which are presented in Table 11 show a large difference between the groups of respondents when asked how often they helped t h e i r children with r e v i s i n g written work. Although this difference was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , there was a higher percentage of mothers of more e f f e c t i v e writers than mothers of less e f f e c t i v e 81 Table 11 The frequency with which help on written assignments was given by parents expressed in percentage Help on Getting Started group no once twice monthly weekly . response yearly yearly effective 1 2 2 0 1 7 2 8 ^ e f f e c t i v e 1 7 8 2 3 2 5 2 7 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.662 .1215 .774 NS Help with Revising e f f e t e 9 " 1 2 W ^ effective 1 7 2 1 4 " ?3 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.480 .0881 .976 NS Help with Proofreading .ffScWv. 6 6 12 42 35 effective 1 4 4 12 31 39 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.622 .1143 .834 NS 82 writers who reported giving weekly help to t h e i r children on r e v i s i n g written assignments. As can be seen i n Table 11, proofreading help was given to students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers less regularly (35 percent received i t weekly) than i t was given to students in-the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (39 percent received i t weekly). These differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample Test. When asked about several further kinds of help with writing which parents could give, interviewees indicated that more of these kinds of help was given by parents of children i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers than by parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Parents of children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers who were interviewed indicated that they talked about ideas f o r writing more often ("every couple.of weeks, a couple of times a week") than did parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers ("a couple of times a year, seldom"). Children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were reported to read drafts of assignments to t h e i r mothers more often than were students in the group of 83 less e f f e c t i v e writers. The parents of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers described the frequency with which t h e i r children read them drafts of written assignments with such phrases as "often, sometimes, when proud of i t " , or "when having d i f f i c u l t y " , while "sometimes, once yearly", and "seldom" described the frequency with which children i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers read t h e i r parents drafts of written assignments. In summary, while mothers of the students in the sample reported that a l l three kinds of help (help on getting started, assistance with r e v i s i n g written work, and help with proofreading of assignments) were given less regularly to students in the group of more effective writers than they were given to the students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, none of these differences was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Interviewees indicated that parents of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers talked about ideas for writing with t h e i r children and read drafts of t h e i r children's written assignments more often than did parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 8. Reading to Children Which i s Done by Parents Results of the current study indicated that students 84 in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers were read to more regularly before they could read for themselves than were students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but this was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference. Table 12 indicates that a greater proportion of parents of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (?6 percent) than parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (40 percent) read aloud one or more times each week to t h e i r children who were unable to read for themselves. These differences were not, however, s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample te s t . Table 12 shows that few parents read aloud to th e i r children regularly a f t e r the children had learned to read aloud for themselves but that students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers were read aloud to more regularly than were students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. The differences between the responses of the two groups to t h i s question were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test. To summarize, mothers reported that both before t h e i r children could read for themselves and af t e r they had learned, more time was spent reading aloud to children by parents of students in the group of more Table 12 The frequency with which parents read aloud to t h e i r c h i l d r e n expressed i n percentage Before Their C h i l d r e n Could Read f o r Themselves group no never r a r e l y once every weekly once every d a i l y response few weeks few days more e f f e c t i v e 19 76 l e s s e f f e c t i v e 2 4 6 6 4 38 4 0 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p d e c i s i o n 0.906 .1664 .384 NS A f t e r Their C h i l d r e n Could Read f o r Themselves ™ 0 ] f ? 0 2 2 4 6 17 12 e f f e c t i v e „ „ l e ^ ? 2 19 4 6 1 9 8 e f f e c t i v e Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test z D • p, d e c i s i o n 1-800 .3305 .003 S i g n i f i c a n t 86 e f f e c t i v e writers than by parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. In the l a t t e r case, results were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. 9. Parent-Child Discussions Concerning Reading and Television Viewing Interviewees reported that discussions between parents and t h e i r children about the children's reading and t e l e v i s i o n viewing were more regular occurrences in the homes of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers than they were in the homes of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Parents of students in the groups of more ef f e c t i v e writers described the frequency of such discussions with such phrases as "frequently, quite often" and "sometimes". The parents of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers reported in t h e i r interviews that they seldom had such discussions with t h e i r children. Interviews with respondents provided an opportunity to assess the attitudes of family members toward reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s and to ascertain the frequency with which these topics were discussed in the every day l i v e s of family members. Interviews were proportionately ( divided among the more e f f e c t i v e writers, less e f f e c t i v e writers, males, and females in a way that r e f l e c t e d the 87 composition of the groups who r e t u r n e d t h e i r q u e s t i o n n a i r e s . Respondents from the homes of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s d e s c r i b e d w r i t i n g s t o r i e s or d i s c u s s i n g what they were r e a d i n g with t h e i r c h i l d r e n as r e g u l a r occurrences i n t h e i r l i v e s . Interviewees from the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s i n d i c a t e d t h a t h e l p i n g t h e i r p r e s c h o o l c h i l d r e n with r e a d i n g was something t h a t a) "we d i d n ' t n o t i c e because i t was such a r e g u l a r occurrence b) d i d n ' t bother me c) gave us a k i c k : we enjoyed i t " Respondents from the homes of students i n the group of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s , however, n e a r l y always mentioned r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s i n a s s o c i a t i o n with s c h o o l assignments and such a c t i v i t i e s as frequent r e a d i n g and d i s c u s s i o n o f what was read d i d not form r e g u l a r f e a t u r e s of t h e i r l i v e s . F u r t h e r responses of inte r v i e w e e s are presented i n Appendix J . C. HOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION I n v e s t i g a t i o n o f the work h a b i t s of mothers who worked o u t s i d e the home, the e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l s and occupations of parents, and the presence of c e r t a i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l s i n the homes of respondents r e v e a l e d d i f f e r e n c e s between the homes of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and homes of students i n 88 the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. In the homes of more ef f e c t i v e writers there were more books for children, more mothers had worked outside the home since t h e i r children's b i r t h s , and mothers were better educated than in the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers. These are a l l differences which were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. However, a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the educational leve l s attained by fathers in the two groups was found with the fathers of more ef f e c t i v e writers being better educated. 1. Books and Chalkboards in the Home About half of the homes of a l l respondents contained chalkboards. The homes of students in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers contained more books for children than did the homes of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but t h i s was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference. Although not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test , there was a difference between the percentage of homes of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers which contained chalkboards (57 percent) and the percentage of homes of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers which contained chalkboards (48 percent). This can be seen by adding the l a s t three columns of Table 13. Table 14 shows that a higher percentage of the homes of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (82 percent) were reported as having f i f t y or more books Table 13 The frequency with which chalkboards were found in the homes of respondents expressed in percentage more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e no no a large a small more than response chalkboard chalkboard chalkboard one chalkboard 1 42 38 15 4 2 50 29 15 4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.261 .0479 .999 NS CO 90 for children than were homes of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (56 percent). Although the difference was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test, the information was confirmed through discussions with interviewees. Interviewees from the homes of more eff e c t i v e writers described t h e i r homes as containing many books f o r children while interviewees from the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers reported that t h e i r homes contained fewer books. In summary, a b o u t half of a l l respondents reported having chalkboards in t h e i r homes, and the homes of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers contained more books for children than did the homes of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Differences Table 14 The number of books for children in the homes of respondents expressed in percentage no less than 11-20 21-50 50 or response ten books books books more books more eff e c t i v e 1 3 1 13 82 less e f f e c t i v e 2 5 8 29 56 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p 0.539 .0989 .934 decision NS 91 between responses from mothers of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers about chalkboards and books for children were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 2. Mothers' Work Outside the Home Questions about work done outside the home by- mothers of students in both groups revealed that more mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers v/orked outside the home after t h e i r children had been born but these differences between the groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t . A higher percentage'of mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers reported having worked outside the home since t h e i r children had been born (81 percent) than did the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (73 percent). As Table 15 indicates, differences between the groups on this variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. These differences, however, did approach significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence (p = .076). Table 15 also shows that before t h e i r children attended school more mothers of students in the group of 92 Table 15 The frequency with which mothers reported working outside the home expressed in percentage Since Their Children Were Born - group no did not work did work response more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 0 19 81 0 2? 73 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D P decision 1.278 .23̂ 7 .076 NS Before Their Children Attended School more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 35 65 40 58 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision .440 .0808 .990 NS more e f f e c t i v e writers than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were working outside the home. However, the differences between the groups on 93 t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . Mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers finished t h e i r work outside the home e a r l i e r in the day than did the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. While 35 percent of the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers finished t h e i r work outside the home before 4:30 p.m., 1? percent of the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers finished before that time. This was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the groups when tested with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. To summarize, more of the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers reported that they had worked outside the home at some time since t h e i r children had been born but t h i s difference between the groups was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Additionally, more mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers reported that they had worked outside the home before t h e i r children attended school but the differences between the two groups on t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. 94 3. The Absence of Natural Parents from the Home Most homes of respondents from the two groups contained both natural parents. There was no pattern to the ages at which parents l e f t the homes or entered them and no s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the groups. A s l i g h t l y higher percentage of mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers than mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers reported homes which contained both of the child' s natural parents. Using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample te s t , these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence (Z=0.823, D= .1511, p = .508). There were only s l i g h t differences between the ages of children in the two groups when parents l e f t or entered t h e i r homes. These differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. 4. Level of Parental Education Both mothers and fathers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers had higher l e v e l s of education than did the mothers and fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. The difference between the educational levels of mothers was not s i g n i f i c a n t while the difference between the educational lev e l s held by fathers was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 95 When the l a s t four columns are added together, Table 16 shows that 6 l percent of the mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers had some education beyond the grade twelve l e v e l while 22 percent of the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e ' writers possessed t h i s l e v e l of education. The differences between the groups on this variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Adding together the l a s t four columns in Table 1? indicates that a higher percentage of fathers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (49 percent) than fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (33 percent) possessed a l e v e l of education beyond the grade twelve l e v e l . The differences between the educational lev e l s of fathers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the educational levels of fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. This was determined by using a Kolmogorov- Smirnov Two-Sample Test. In summary, both fathers and mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers possessed higher levels of education than did the parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but s t a t i s t i c a l l y Table 16 The highest l e v e l of school attained by mothers expressed i n percentage group no some grade community technical some university response secondary twelve college t r a i n i n g university graduate school graduate more eff e c t i v e 0 10 29 16 13 16 16 less e f f e c t i v e 4 35 40 10 4 6 2 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.337 .0619 .999 NS Table 17 The highest l e v e l of school attained by fathers expressed in percentage group no some grade community technical some university response secondary twelve college t r a i n i n g university graduate school graduate more eff e c t i v e 1 30 19 6 7 13 23 less e f f e c t i v e 6 44 17 8 10 0 15 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 2.163 .3972 .001 S i g n i f i c a n t 9 7 s i g n i f i c a n t differences (at the .05 l e v e l of confidence) were found only on the variable of fathers' educational l e v e l . 5. Parental Occupation An examination of the occupations reported by the respondents indicated that in the homes of more eff e c t i v e writers more mothers worked outside the home and both mothers and fathers held s l i g h t l y more highly s k i l l e d jobs than did parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. Occupations were categorized using a fiv e - p a r t scale. Examples of t y p i c a l jobs in each category are l i s t e d below. 1. u n s k i l l e d — j a n i t o r , domestic help 2. semi-skilled--truck driver, secretary 3. skilled—tradesman, machine operator 4. business and management—store manager 5. professional—pharmacist, teacher Appendix G l i s t s a l l occupations which were reported by respondents and which category each was placed i n ) . Upon adding the l a s t f i v e columns of Table 18 i t becomes evident that more mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (66 percent) than mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e Table 18 The occupational c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of .jobs held by mothers expressed i n percentage group no did not unskilled semi- s k i l l e d business & professional response work s k i l l e d managerial 4 7 4 o Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.915 .1681 .372 NS Table 19 The occupational c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of jobs held by fathers expressed i n percentage group no did not unskilled semi- s k i l l e d business & professional response work s k i l l e d managerial more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 1.109 .P.037 .170 NS — — — , OO 1 33 12 28 15 e f f e c t i v e J J l e s s 4 44 13 23 12 e f f e c t i v e 3 4 29 28 10 20 4 17 19 31 10 10 99 writers (52 percent) worked outside the home. The s k i l l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of jobs held by mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers are quite s i m i l a r with a s l i g h t l y larger group of mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (7 percent) than in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (no mothers) holding jobs c l a s s i f i e d as professional. These differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test. The occupations of fathers in the sample are tabulated in Table 19. Fathers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers generally held jobs rated as more highly s k i l l e d than did fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. For example, 20 percent of the fathers of students in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers held occupations c l a s s i f i e d as professional while 10 percent of the fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers held such occupations. The differences between the responses of the groups on t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. In summary, both mothers and fathers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers held jobs rated 100 as more highly s k i l l e d than the jobs held by the mothers and fathers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, but no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found. D. LEISURE ACTIVITIES Examination of the at-home leis u r e a c t i v i t i e s of students revealed that students i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers were reported to watch fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week and have more r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing than were students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers were also reported to choose to read books and magazines, make things with t h e i r hands, parti c i p a t e in quiet indoor games, and to play alone more often than were students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 1. Students' Television Viewing Table 20 shows that students in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers generally watched fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week than did students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but differences between the groups on t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t . For example, Table 20 shows that a smaller percentage of the students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (6 percent) than the percentage of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e 101 Table 20 in percentage group no response no viewing 5 or 6-10 fewer hours hours 11-15 hours 15 or more hours more eff e c t i v e 1 2 30 42 19 6 less e f f e c t i v e 4 2 23 36 23 12 Kolmogorov -Smirnov Two-Sample Te st Z D P decision 0.514 .0945 .954 NS writers (12 percent) watched f i f t e e n or more hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week but the differences between the groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . Interviewees reported that less t e l e v i s i o n viewing was done by children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers than by children i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This information agreed with the responses to the questionnaire. The t e l e v i s i o n viewing habits of children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers were variously described by interviewees as "limited", 102 non-existent ("he seldom watches"), or supplanted by reading ("she usually reads instead"). Most interviewees who were parents of children i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers described the t e l e v i s i o n viewing habits of t h e i r children as regular. These interviewees were each able to name a number of programs which t h e i r children viewed on a regular basis. Table 21 shows that r e s t r i c t i o n s of some kind were placed on the viewing of most students i n the sample and that a higher proportion of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers had r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing (71 percent) than did students in the Table 21 of children expressed in percentage group no r e s t r i c t i o n s some r e s t r i c t i o n s more ef f e c t i v e 29 71 less e f f e c t i v e 48 52 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.464 • .0853 .982 NS group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (52 percent). However, these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence when tested using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample te s t . Restrictions which respondents reported are presented in Appendix H. In summary, students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were reported to watch fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week and have more r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing than students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but neither of these differences between the groups were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 2. Students' S o l i t a r y A c t i v i t i e s Mothers were asked how often, when alone, t h e i r children chose to do f i v e d i f f e r e n t a c t i v i t i e s . They reported that students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers chose to look at books or magazines, make things with t h e i r hands, and parti c i p a t e in quiet indoor games more often than the students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers did. A l l of these differences between the groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t . Respondents also reported that students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers chose to watch t e l e v i s i o n (a s i g n i f i c a n t f i n d i n g at the .05 l e v e l of confidence) and participate in active outdoor games (not a s i g n i f i c a n t finding) less often than did students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e 104 writers. Students in. the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers also played alone more often than did students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but the differences between the groups on t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t . Table 22 indicates that a higher proportion of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers (93 percent) regularly or sometimes chose to look at books or magazines than did students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (73 percent). These differences, however, were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. According to parents, students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers chose to watch t e l e v i s i o n less often than did students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (as Table 22 shows). The differences between the groups on t h i s question were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample Test, (Respondents could choose from the following responses: regularly, sometimes, seldom, or never when answering these questions.) Table 22 indicates that "participates in active outdoor games" was chosen "regularly" or "sometimes" by 7 7 percent of the respondents in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers and by 74 percent of the respondents in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Differences Table 22 The frequency with which children chose fiv e s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s expressed i n percentage group look at books watch t e l e v i s i o n do active outdoor games make things with hands do quiet indoor games more eff e c t i v e 93 78 74 77 70 less e f f e c t i v e 73 85 77 69 50 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two Sample Test Z 1.040 1.800 0.555 1.115 0.209 D .1909 .3305 .1020 .2048 .0385 P .230 .003 .917 .166 .999 decision NS Sign i f i c a n t NS NS NS Notet frequency- the percentage of students who "regularly" or "sometimes" chose these a c t i v i t i e s . o 106 between the groups on th i s variable were not found to be s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . Respondents indicated that more (77 percent) of the students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers regularly or sometimes chose to "make things with t h e i r hands" than did students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (69 percent). A Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test found the differences between the groups on t h i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. Respondents also indicated that 70 percent of the more ef f e c t i v e writers "regularly" or "sometimes" chose to participate in quiet indoor games while only 50 percent of the parents reported that students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers chose indoor games that often. The differences between the groups on th i s variable were, however, not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test. When asked how often t h e i r children played alone, parents indicated that playing alone was done more regularly by students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (33 percent did so "regularly") than by" students in^the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (25 percent did 107 so "regularly") as Table 23 shows. The use of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test found that these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. In summary, the s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s chosen more often by students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers than by students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were a) looking at books or magazines b) making things with the hands c) p a r t i c i p a t i n g in quiet indoor games The differences between the groups in the frequency Table 23 The frequency with which children played alone expressed in percentage group no rarely sometimes regularly response effe'cTive 0 " "8 " e f f e c t i v e 4 « * 25 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D p decision 0.856 .1572 .456 NS 108 with which they chose these three a c t i v i t i e s were nor s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. A c t i v i t i e s which were chosen less often by students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers than be students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were "watches t e l e v i s i o n " and "participates in active outdoor games". Differences i n the frequency with which students from the two groups chose to watch t e l e v i s i o n were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. E. ' PARENTAL OPINIONS Examination of the opinions of parents about t h e i r roles in helping t h e i r children learn the s k i l l s of reading and writing revealed s i g n i f i c a n t and non-significant differences between respondents in the group of more eff e c t i v e writers and respondents in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Non-significant differences between the groups were found when respondents i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers indicated that t h e i r children were more interested in school and that they as parents were more s a t i s f i e d with writing i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools than were respondents who were parents of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. A s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the groups was that the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more s a t i s f i e d with school in s t r u c t i o n i n reading. The mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers also expressed a stronger commitment 109 to the school progress of t h e i r children in a series of opinionnaire questions (these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t ) . 1. Students' Interest i n School Mothers of respondents indicated that students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more interested in school than were students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers but th i s was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference (at the .05 l e v e l of confidence). Table 24. shows.that stronger interest in school was shown by students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (46 percent were extremely interested) than be students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (12 percent were extremely interested). Using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample tests, the differences between the groups on this variable were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 2. Parental S a t i s f a c t i o n with School Instruction Parents were more s a t i s f i e d with reading instruction i n the schools than were parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This was a s i g n i f i c a n t difference (at the .05 l e v e l of confidence). Table 25 shows that a larger percentage of the parents of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers reported that they were very s a t i s f i e d with w r i t i n g i n s t r u c t i o n in the Table 2 4 The amount of interest children were reported to have in school expressed i n percentage group no not not adequately extremely response interested sure interested interested _ R A 0 J ? 0 0 ' 1 6 4 0 4 6 e f f e c t i v e „ „ L E J ? 6 4 35 4 4 1 2 e f f e c t i v e Z 0 . 2 7 8 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test D p .0510 .999 decision NS Table 25 The opinions of parents about reading and writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools expressed in percentage Reading Instruction group no response very d i s s a t i s f i e d d i s s a t i s f i e d not sure s a t i s f i e d very s a t i s f i e d more eff e c t i v e 4 0 0 6 68 22 less e f f e c t i v e 0 LL LL 19 69 4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D P decision 1.688 .3099 .007 S i g n i f i c a n t Writing Instruction more eff e c t i v e 4 0 3 13 67 13 less e f f e c t i v e 4 10 10 23 63 0 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z D P decision 0.765 .1405 .602 NS 112 schools than did parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. However, differences between the groups on th i s variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. Results also showed that most parents in the sample were more s a t i s f i e d with reading i n s t r u c t i o n than they were with writing i n s t r u c t i o n . Table 25 indicates that 22 percent of parents of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were "very s a t i s f i e d " with reading i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools while 4 percent of the parents of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were "very s a t i s f i e d " . The differences between the responses from the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and from the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . As might be expected, parents of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers expressed stronger s a t i s f a c t i o n with writing i n s t r u c t i o n than did parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, as Table 25 shows. Among respondents from the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers, 13 percent were very s a t i s f i e d with writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools while there were no respondents from the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers who were very s a t i s f i e d . The differences between the responses of the two groups on this variable were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . 113 In summary, parents of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers expressed greater s a t i s f a c t i o n with both reading and writing i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools than did the parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, but only on the reading variable were the differences between the groups s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 3. "Ideal Parent" Variables Mothers were asked to express the amount of agreement they had with f i v e a c t i v i t i e s which the i d e a l parent should do. The a c t i v i t i e s were: 1. check her chil d ' s homework regularly 2. volunteer to help with school a c t i v i t i e s 3. help his or her c h i l d learn to read and write 4. not go to the school unless asked to 5. be aware of new teaching methods No s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the groups was found on any of these questions. The statement "the i d e a l parent should volunteer to help with school a c t i v i t i e s " was more strongly agreed with by mothers of more ef f e c t i v e writers (75 percent agreed or strongly agreed) than be mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers (69 percent agreed or strongly agreed). These differences which were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence (using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample test) are reported in Table 26. Table 26 The amount of agreement expressed by parents with the statements that the ideal parent should: (expressed in percentage) group check homework regularly help with school a c t i v i t i e s help teach reading and writing not go to school unless asked to be aware of new teaching methods more eff e c t i v e 80 75 87 10 88 less e f f e c t i v e 88 69 86 10 90 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z 0.675 0.803 0.337 0.325 0.586 D .1240 .1474 .0619 .0596 .1076 P .752 .540 .999 .999 .882 decision NS NS NS NS NS Note. amount of agreement = the percentage of parents who agree or strongly agree 115 Table 26 indicates .the strong agreement which was expressed by respondents with the statement "the ideal parent should help his or her c h i l d learn to read and write." While i t i s not shown in the table, the data revealed that parents of students in the group of more effec t i v e writers f e l t more strongly (41 percent strongly agreed) than parents of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (31 percent strongly agreed) that the ideal parent should "help his or her c h i l d learn to read and write". When tested using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test, these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. L i t t l e difference between the opinions of the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the opinions of mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers about the statement "the ideal parent should be aware of new teaching methods" was found. There was uniform agreement expressed by the whole sample with t h i s statement, as Table 26 shows. There were no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence on t h i s variable (using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t ) . The mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers also held v i r t u a l l y the same opinions 116 concerning the statement "the ide a l parent should not go to the school unless asked to." Both groups disagreed strongly with t h i s statement. While there were some differences between the groups in the pattern of t h e i r disagreement, no s i g n f i c i a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found between the groups using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . The agreement expressed by respondents from the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers was not as strong as the agreement expressed by respondents from the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers with the statement "the ide a l parent should check his or her ch i l d ' s homework regularly". Table 26 shows that while 80 percent of the mothers of students in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers agreed or strongly agreed with this statement 88 percent of the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers agreed or strongly agreed with i t . These differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample t e s t . No s i g n f i c i a n t differences were found between the opinions held by the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the opinions of parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers concerning the f i v e statements: 1. parents should check homework regularly, 117 2. parents should help teach reading and writing to t h e i r children, 3. parents should not go to the school unless asked to, 4. parents should be aware of new teaching methods, and 5. parents should volunteer to help with school a c t i v i t i e s . 4. "Children should" Variables Mothers were next asked to indicate how much agreement or disagreement they had with the following four statements concerning the possible reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s of children; 1. be read to regularly when they are small 2. receive parental help on homework when needed, 3. be able to make most of t h e i r own choices about books to read and programs to watch, and 4. not always be asking t h e i r parents how to do t h e i r homework. When responses were analyzed using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test, no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found on any of these four variables. Table 27 shows that in response to the statements "children should be read to regularly when they are Table 27 Parents' agreement with four a c t i v i t i e s children should or should not do expressed in percentage group be read to regularly when small receive home- work help when needed make own choices about books and programs complete homework without questions more eff e c t i v e 94 97 45 57 less e f f e c t i v e 92 92 52 54 Kolmogorov-•Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z 0.396 0.209 0.607 0.252 D .0727 .0385 .1115 .0463 P .998 .999 .855 .999 decision NS NS NS NS Note. Parents* agreement = the percentage of parents who agreed or strongly agreed 119 small," "children should receive parental help on homework when needed," and "children should not always be asking t h e i r parents how to do t h e i r homework" more ef f e c t i v e writers expressed s l i g h t l y stronger agreement than the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers did. Only with the statement "children should be able to make most of t h e i r own choices about books to read and programs to watch" did mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers express less strong agreement than that expressed by mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. The l a s t group of questions asked mothers to indicate the amount of agreement or disagreement they had with the following statements concerning regular household events which children should part i c i p a t e ins .1. help pay for the b i l l s at home, 2 . help do the family grocery shopping, 3. clean up t h e i r rooms without being reminded, and 4. help at home by doing regular chores Table 28 shows that stronger agreement with the statement "children should help at home by doing regular chores" was expressed by mothers of students in the group of'more e f f e c t i v e writers (97 percent agreed or strongly agreed) than by mothers of students i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (92 percent agreed or 120 strongly agreed) but th i s difference was not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two- Sample t e s t . With the other three statements there was l i t t l e difference between the opinions expressed by mothers of students i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers and, using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample test, no s i g n i f i c a n t differences at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were found. In summary, there was l i t t l e difference between the responses of the mothers of students in the group of more Table 28 The amount of agreement expressed by parents with the statements nowadays children such as my c h i l d should: (expressed in percentage) group help do the clean t h e i r room do regular help pay grocery without chores at for the shopping reminding home b i l l s at home more eff e c t i v e less e f f e c t i v e 68 90 97 4 6? 90 92 4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test Z 0.209 0.590 0.276 1.120 D .0385 .1084 .0507 .2057 P .999 .877 .999 .163 decision NS NS NS NS Note. the who agreed amount of agreement or strongly agreed. = the percentage of parents 1 2 1 e f f e c t i v e writers and the mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers concerning regular events of the household. Mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers expressed stronger agreement than mothers of students in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers, however, with three of the four statements concerning reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s which they were asked about. This indicates a stronger interest in the reading and writing progress of t h e i r children among mothers of students in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers. F. OTHER VARIABLES Forming part of the re s u l t s but not d i r e c t l y dependent on how respondents answered the survey were certain "statid' variables. 1 . Sex Analysis of the composition of the groups formed by those who returned t h e i r questionnaires revealed that sex was not an evenly di s t r i b u t e d variable between the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Table 2 9 indicates that questionnaires returned by the parents of females made up a much larger part of the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers (71 percent) than did questionnaires returned by the parents .of males ( 2 9 percent). The table also shows that males were more 122 Table 29 Questionnaire respondents grouped by sex and reported in percentage group female male more „, 2 g e f f e c t i v e f ± y e f f e c t i v e ' <-> numerous in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers (73 percent) than were females who made up 27 percent of this group. G. SUMMARY 1. The following s i g n i f i c a n t differences between more ef f e c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers were found by the present study. a) More ef f e c t i v e writers spent more of t h e i r leisure time wri t i n g and chose to watch t e l e v i s i o n less often than did less e f f e c t i v e writers. b) The fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers were better educated and wrote l e t t e r s more.often than the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers did. c) The parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers read aloud to t h e i r children a f t e r the children could 123 read for themselves and were more s a t i s f i e d with reading i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools than were the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 2 . Approaching significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were the following r e s u l t s . a) More ef f e c t i v e writers showed an e a r l i e r interest in learning how to p r i n t than did less e f f e c t i v e writers. b) The parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers less strongly agreed (than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers) with the statement children should help pay for the b i l l s at home. 3. The following r e s u l t s were not s i g n f i c i a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence but were i n the hypothesized dir e c t i o n : a) More ef f e c t i v e writers did homework assignments more often, spent longer on the homework assignments, received less help from t h e i r parents with r e v i s i n g and proofreading written assignments, watched fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week, had more r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing by t h e i r parents, played alone more often, preferred indoor a c t i v i t i e s over outdoor ones, exhibited more interest in school, exhibited more s k i l l 124 in p r i n t i n g upon grade one entry and chose reading as an alone a c t i v i t y more often than did less e f f e c t i v e writers. b) The mothers of more ef f e c t i v e writers did more d i f f e r e n t kinds of writing at home and at work, worked outside the home more often, wrote l e t t e r s more frequently and possessed higher educational and occupational s k i l l l e vels than the mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers did. c) The fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers possessed higher levels of education than the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. d) The parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers read through t h e i r children 's_written assignmen more regularly, contacted t h e i r children's teacher less often to discuss assignments, gave less help to t h e i r children r e v i s i n g and proofreading written assignments, read aloud to t h e i r children before they could read for themselves more often, more strongly agreed that children should be read to regularly when small and should help at home by doing regular chores, agreed less strongly that children should be able to make most of t h e i r 125 own choices about books to read and programs to watch, more strongly agreed that parents should volunteer.to help with school a c t i v i t i e s , offered t h e i r children less help with getting started on written assignments, and less strongly agreed that children should help pay for the b i l l s at home than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. e) More books for children were in the homes of more ef f e c t i v e writers than i n the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 4 . On the following variables l i t t l e difference between more ef f e c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers was found: a) the order in which the s k i l l s of reading and writing were learned, b) the number of chalkboards i n homes, c) the opinions of parents about teaching t h e i r children reading and writing and reading aloud to t h e i r children when they were small, and d) the opinions of parents that children should complete t h e i r homework without asking questions, children should help at home by doing regular chores, and children should sometimes help do the grocery shopping. CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION A. SUMMARY OF RESULTS To investigate which factors of home environment a were associated with d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of s k i l l i n writing, parents of selected students in grades six and seven were asked to complete a questionnaire. Students in grades six and seven at four elementary schools were judged by t h e i r teachers on t h e i r o v e r a l l proficiency i n the s k i l l s of written composition and then ranked from most p r o f i c i e n t to least p r o f i c i e n t . The ten most p r o f i c i e n t writers at each grade l e v e l formed a group labelled "more ef f e c t i v e writers" and the ten least p r o f i c i e n t writers at each grade l e v e l formed a group la b e l l e d as "less e f f e c t i v e writers." This procedure formed a group of 40 students at each of four schools for a t o t a l of 160 students. At both grade levels and in each school there was a group of at least ten students whose s k i l l s i n composition were judged to be between those of the more ef f e c t i v e and the less e f f e c t i v e writers. Parents of students i n the groups of more ef f e c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Results from the questionnaires were cross-tabulated by group (group of more e f f e c t i v e writers or group of less e f f e c t i v e writers) and the significance of the differences between the responses of the groups 126 127 were analyzed by use of a Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test. Interviews were conducted with a s t r a t i f i e d random sample ( s t r a t i f i e d by sex and group to match the composition of the t o t a l sample) of ten questionnaire respondents. The interviews were conducted to gather additional information concerning the association between home environment and writing s k i l l . The following differences between more effe c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers were s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence or better. 1. Children i n the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers spent more of th e i r l e i s u r e time at home writing. This difference was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .044 l e v e l of confidence. 2. Fathers of children i n the group of more effe c t i v e writers possessed higher l e v e l of education than did fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This finding was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .001 l e v e l of confidence. 3. Fewer of the children i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers chose to watch t e l e v i s i o n . This fi n d i n g was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .003 l e v e l of confidence. 4. Parents of children i n the group of more effective writers expressed more s a t i s f a c t i o n with reading instruction in the schools than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e 128 writers. This finding was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .007 l e v e l of confidence. 5. The parents of children i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers read aloud to t h e i r ch i l d r e n who could already read for themselves more often than did the parents of children i n the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This difference was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .003 l e v e l of confidence. 6. The fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers wrote more l e t t e r s than did the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This finding was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .03^ l e v e l of confidence. Approaching significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence were the following r e s u l t s . 1. More effe c t i v e writers showed an interest in learning how to print at an e a r l i e r age than did less e f f e c t i v e writers (p = .112). 2. The parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers more strongly agreed that children should help pay for the b i l l s at home than did the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers,(p = .163). Other r e s u l t s of the study which were i n the hypothesized d i r e c t i o n are presented below. These re s u l t s were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 129 1. The mothers of more ef f e c t i v e writers did more writing at home and at work. 2i Both the questionnaire r e s u l t s and interview data showed that the more ef f e c t i v e writers brought 0 home t h e i r marked assignments more regularly for their parents to see and these children also did homework more often each week. 3. The parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers read aloud to t h e i r preschoolers more often and expressed stronger agreement that children should be read to than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 4. Information gathered during interviews indicated that each of the following kinds of help with writing took place more often in the homes of more ef f e c t i v e writers than in the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers: (a) conversations about ideas for writing, (b) reading preliminary drafts of assignments, and (c) help from fathers in formulating w r i t i n g ideas. 5. Interview data showed that more ef f e c t i v e writers showed a stronger interest i n learning to read. Interviews also revealed that a greater number of the parents of more effe c t i v e writers thought teaching t h e i r children to read was a natural part of t h e i r l i v e s which they hardly noticed doing. 6. Other differences which were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y 130 s i g n i f i c a n t were found between the homes of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers. For example, the home conditions below were more commonly found in the homes of the more e f f e c t i v e writers: (a) chalkboards in the homes, (b) a large number of books for children, (c) highly educated mothers, and (d) highly s k i l l e d occupations outside the home held by mothers. 7 . The more ef f e c t i v e writers watched fewer hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week. This was a difference supported by information from the interviews. More e f f e c t i v e writers were sele c t i v e in t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing, interviews indicated, and children in the more e f f e c t i v e group had more r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n viewing, 8. More e f f e c t i v e writers were reported to play alone more often and when playing alone they were reported to prefer quiet indoor games more than the less e f f e c t i v e writers did. More ef f e c t i v e writers did not choose active outdoor games as regularly as less e f f e c t i v e writers did. 9 . Respondents indicated that children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more strongly interested in school than were less e f f e c t i v e writers. 10. A greater percentage of the parents of more eff e c t i v e writers (than the percentage of the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers) expressed strong agreement with these statements: (a) parents should help t h e i r 131 children learn to read and write, and (b) children should do regular chores at home. 11. Stronger agreement was expressed by the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers than by the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers with the idea that parents should v i s i t the school more often than just when asked to. 12. There was less strong agreement that children should be able to make most of t h e i r own choices about books to read and programs to watch among the parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers than among the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 13. Interviews showed a more active involvement in the reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s of children by the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers. This involvement took the form of regular discussions about writing and help with writing assignments. 14. The more e f f e c t i v e writers showed an e a r l i e r interest in learning how to pr i n t and greater p r i n t i n g s k i l l upon entering grade one. Both of these differences were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 15. More ef f e c t i v e writers spent more time on t h e i r homework but t h i s was not a s i g n i f i c a n t difference at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. This difference between the groups i s , however, supported by interview r e s u l t s which showed that more e f f e c t i v e writers spent considerably more time on homework. 132 16. Fathers of children i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers held more highly s k i l l e d occupations than did the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. 17. Children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers had the following preferences for a c t i v i t i e s when occupying themselves: (a) more of them chose reading and (b) more of them chose to make things with t h e i r hands. 18. Parents of children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers expressed the following opinions: (a) more s a t i s f a c t i o n with writing i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools and (b) more agreement that parents should volunteer to help with school a c t i v i t i e s . B. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS Of the 26 results reported i n the preceding summary, a majority of 25 of them were in the hypothesized d i r e c t i o n . Six of the 23 were s i g n i f i c a n t findings at the .05 l e v e l of confidence (and a l l of the s i g n i f i c a n t findings were in the hypothesized d i r e c t i o n ) . Each of the s i g n i f i c a n t findings i s discussed below. 1. Children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers spent more of t h e i r l e i s u r e time writing than did members of the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Monk (1958), in his investigation of the home backgrounds of children who had high achievement in written English, concluded 133 that there was a strong association between the higher achieving writers and nearly every i n t e l l e c t u a l i n t e r e s t or a c t i v i t y which he questioned respondents about. The res u l t s of the current study agree with Monk's findings but are more s p e c i f i c . The present study found that more ef f e c t i v e writers did more writing i n t h e i r leisure time than did less e f f e c t i v e writers. Although more e f f e c t i v e writers spent more of t h e i r l e i s u r e time writing than did less e f f e c t i v e writers neither group spent t h e i r l e i s u r e time wr i t i n g very often. Forty-eight percent of the more e f f e c t i v e writers spent l e i s u r e time writing once a week or.more often while 32 percent of the less e f f e c t i v e writers wrote that often. . Future researchers could address several questions. How much writing in l e i s u r e time i s associated with J more s k i l l f u l writing? What forms of writing do more ef f e c t i v e writers engage in most often? 2. More e f f e c t i v e writers chose t e l e v i s i o n viewing as a s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t y less often than did less e f f e c t i v e writers both questionnaire and interview r e s u l t s indicated. This description i s much l i k e those provided by such researchers as Durkin (1966) , Monk (1958), and Clark (1976) . Each of these researchers found that higher achieving children spent less time watching 134 t e l e v i s i o n than d i d lower a c h i e v i n g c h i l d r e n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , C l a r k found t h a t e a r l y readers watched t e l e v i s i o n s e l e c t i v e l y , o f t e n p r e f e r r i n g to r e a d i n s t e a d . I n v e s t i g a t i o n s of how c h i l d r e n use t h e i r l e i s u r e time conducted by Durkin and C l a r k concluded t h a t e a r l y r e a d e r s p r e f e r s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s and are adept at them, and they ( e a r l y r e a d e r s ) a l s o have an e x c e l l e n t a b i l i t y to occupy themselves when alone. Future r e s e a r c h i n t o the q u e s t i o n of why higher a c h i e v i n g c h i l d r e n watch l e s s t e l e v i s i o n c o u l d prove h e l p f u l to p a r e n t s . F i n d i n g out why h i g h e r a c h i e v i n g c h i l d r e n p r e f e r q u i e t a c t i v i t i e s and p l a y i n g alone c o u l d h e l p e x p l a i n why these c h i l d r e n achieve h i g h e r l e v e l s of s k i l l i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g . A l s o , f i n d i n g out what i t i s about t e l e v i s i o n v i e w i n g t h a t causes more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s to choose i t l e s s o f t e n than l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s do, would help d e s c r i b e the a c t i v i t i e s which are a s s o c i a t e d w i t h b e t t e r w r i t i n g . 3. Two s i g n i f i c a n t f i n d i n g s c o n c e r n i n g the d i f f e r e n c e s between f a t h e r s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s and the f a t h e r s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were found i n the c u r r e n t study. Q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e s u l t s showed t h a t the f a t h e r s of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s were b e t t e r educated and wrote more l e t t e r s than d i d the f a t h e r s of l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . Monk (1958) .and F r a s e r (1973) both found a c l o s e 135 rel a t i o n s h i p between the occupations of fathers and the school progress of children. The present study confirms these findings. Few descriptions of the l e t t e r - w r i t i n g habits of fathers, however, were found in the l i t e r a t u r e . For t h i s reason the f i n d i n g of t h i s study that fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers wrote l e t t e r s more often than did the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers i s useful in describing the environments of more e f f e c t i v e writers. It seems possible that these two factors are related. Letter writing may well be an a c t i v i t y that i s associated with higher l e v e l s of education. Put another way, those with higher l e v e l s of education may do more writing i n t h e i r leisure time than do those with less education. This i s a question for future researchers to explore. 4 . The current study also found that vthe parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more s a t i s f i e d with reading ins t r u c t i o n i n the schools and that they read aloud to t h e i r children more often (after t h e i r children had learned to read) than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Interview r e s u l t s confirmed the description above. Parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers expressed much more s a t i s f a c t i o n with the schools i n general and the reading and writing i n s t r u c t i o n s p e c i f i c a l l y . It seems l o g i c a l that parents of children who are 136 successful in school would be s a t i s f i e d with the job the schools are doing. It should be noted, however, that the results of the present study also show that the parents of high achieving students didn't leave a l l the teaching to the schools. While f e e l i n g s a t i s f i e d with the job done by the schools, they s t i l l f e l t the' need to give t h e i r children help at home. Future research should explore why such parents f e l t compelled to help with a job they f e l t the schools were handling quite competently. Reading aloud to children by t h e i r parents was something which previous research had found was related to children's l a t e r performances in reading and writing. Monk (1958), Durkin (1966), and Clark (1976) a l l reported th i s f i nding. Therefore i t was not surpr i s i n g to find an association between writing s k i l l and being read aloud to in the current study. There was a sur p r i s i n g finding in the current study however. A stronger association between writing s k i l l and reading aloud by parents a f t e r children had learned to read for themselves was found than was found between writing s k i l l and reading aloud by parents before children could read for themselves. This f i n d i n g may be due to the r a r i t y of reading aloud by parents a f t e r children can read for themselves. That i s , while many parents read aloud to t h e i r preschoolers, 137 only parents with an extremely strong interest in t h e i r children's progress in reading and writing s k i l l s take time to read aloud to t h e i r children a f t e r the children can read for themselves. This i s a question for future researchers. One question raised by these findings i s why some parents choose to do these b e n e f i c i a l things with t h e i r children while others do not. Future researchers addressing t h i s question could provide information of use to parents, students, and those who work with both of these groups by answering t h i s question. Two re s u l t s of the current study which approached significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence are discussed below. 1. One of the re s u l t s of the present study which approached significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence was that more ef f e c t i v e writers exhibited an e a r l i e r interest in learning how to pr i n t than did less e f f e c t i v e writers. This r e s u l t i s supported by interview responses also. Interviewees who were parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers often described t h e i r children as having an early interest in p r i n t i n g . Durkin ( 1 9 6 6 ) observed that much interest i n p r i n t i n g was shown at an early age by the early readers whom she investigated as well. The success of more e f f e c t i v e writers in t h e i r w riting 138 a c t i v i t i e s seems to explain t h e i r tendency to participate in such a c t i v i t i e s more often because they found writing to be an enjoyable a c t i v i t y . Another important question is what caused the success of more e f f e c t i v e writers i n t h e i r writing a c t i v i t i e s . Future researchers could explore t h i s question as well as the question of what prompts more ef f e c t i v e readers and writers to show e a r l i e r interest in reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s than t h e i r peers? The strong interest shown by such children has been found to begin at quite an early age. 2. The second r e s u l t of the present study which approached significance at the .05 l e v e l of confidence was that the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers agreed less strongly than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers that children should help pay for the b i l l s at home. This r e s u l t f i t s the description of home management styl e s which emerges from the current study. A home management style that judiciously delegated r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to children was.:a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the homes of more ef f e c t i v e writers. Parents i n this group expressed more agreement than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers with the statements children should help at home by doing regular chores and parent should not always be checking the homework of t h e i r children. 139 On other issues, however, parents of more effe c t i v e writers f e l t they must r e t a i n more control. Parents of more ef f e c t i v e writer's did not agree as strongly as parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers did with the statement children should be able to make most of t h e i r own choices about books to read and programs to watch. As well, parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers placed more r e s t r i c t i o n s on the t e l e v i s i o n viewing of t h e i r children than the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers did. The non-significant findings described above suggest that the parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers in the current study seemed better able to make wise choices in the delegating of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to t h e i r children than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Explorations by future researchers of how parents of more ef f e c t i v e readers and writers came to decisions about delegating r e s p o n s i b i l i t y could prove useful to parents. E f f e c t i v e delegation of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y appears to be associated with superior achievement in reading and writing. The following discussion of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of more eff e c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers i s based on r e s u l t s of the current study which were not s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l of confidence. 1 . A strong interest in reading and writing was exhibited by more e f f e c t i v e writers and t h e i r parents. These parents exhibited a stronger interest in th e i r children's general school progress than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers in the present study showed t h i s stronger interest by reading through t h e i r children's written assignments more regularly, reading aloud to t h e i r preschoolers more regularly, t a l k i n g about ideas for writing more often with t h e i r children, and expressing a stronger agreement that learning to read was a natural part of th e i r home l i v e s than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers results from interviews and questionnaires indicated. This description matches the finding of such researchers as Clark (1976), Monk (1958), and Durkin (1966). Clark stated that the verbal interaction which she found in the homes of early readers was welcomed and encouraged by parents. She also concluded that these parents took part in thi s verbal interaction by t a l k i n g with t h e i r children and answering t h e i r questions even when time a l l o t t e d for other a c t i v i t i e s had to be used to do so. Further r e s u l t s of the present study showed that more e f f e c t i v e writers exhibited a stronger interest i n and more frequent p a r t i c i p a t i o n in reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s than less e f f e c t i v e writers did. This 141 description of more e f f e c t i v e writers i s similar to"the ones provided by Monk ,(195?), Goodacre (1970), and Durkin (1966) . Monk and Goodacre both found that the amount of time spent in home study was related to children's school attainment. These strong interests in reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s were also discovered in the current study. In summary, both the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers and the more e f f e c t i v e writers themselves showed strong interest in the reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s which the children participated i n . The current study i d e n t i f i e s many of the conditions present in the homes of more e f f e c t i v e writers. An important question for future researchers i s what factors cause th i s strong interest in reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s to develop. 2. Data gathered in the present study supported the description of the home conditions of more e f f e c t i v e writers as "favorable". The current study showed that fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers held more highly s k i l l e d jobs than did the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. The current study also showed that the homes of more eff e c t i v e writers contained more books f o r children than did the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Larger numbers of books in the home were associated with superior writing a b i l i t y by Monk (1958) . Monk 142 (1958) and Fraser (1973) both found a close r e l a t i o n s h i p between the occupations of fathers and the school progress of children. Previous research has suggested that the number of books and other reading and wr i t i n g materials i n the home i s at least p a r t l y dependent on the occupational l e v e l of the parents. This assumption should be examined by future researchers in greater d e t a i l to determine how strong an influence on writing the occupational l e v e l of parents i s and why i t exerts such an influence. The question of what kinds of reading and writing materials are most cl o s e l y associated with writing s k i l l i s also a question requiring investigation by future researchers. 3. Leisure a c t i v i t i e s of children. More e f f e c t i v e writers in the current study exhibited an a b i l i t y to occupy themselves and a preference for s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s . The present study also showed that more ef f e c t i v e writers chose reading and making things with t h e i r hands more often than less e f f e c t i v e writers did and the more eff e c t i v e writers chose t e l e v i s i o n viewing less often than the less e f f e c t i v e writers did. Durkin (1966) and Clark (I976) described the early readers whom they investigated as pref e r r i n g s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s and having an a b i l i t y to occupy themselves when alone. This i s a description strongly supported 143 by the data gathered in the current study. How such preferences are developed and why such a c t i v i t i e s are preferences of early readers are questions for future researchers. It seems l o g i c a l that since both reading and writing are s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s , s k i l l f u l readers and writers would prefer such a c t i v i t i e s . However, many s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s have no other s i m i l a r i t y to reading and writing other than the fact that they are done alone and done q u i e t l y . Why these seemingly unlike a c t i v i t i e s are associated i s a question s t i l l needing to be answered. 4. Parents 1 opinions. Non-significant re s u l t s in the current study showed that the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers exhibited a desire for a good education for the i r children. Parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers expressed stronger agreement (although differences were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t ) than the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers did with such ideas as (a) parents should help t h e i r children learn to read and write, (b) parents shouldn't hesitate to v i s i t the schools, and (c) helping children with reading and writing at home should be a natural part of everyday l i f e . The present study also determined that parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more s a t i s f i e d with writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools than were parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Clark (1976) described both the respect for the 144 value of education and the desire they had for t h e i r children to have a good education expressed by the parents of early readers. She found that such parents had strong respect for the value of education and were strongly concerned that t h e i r children receive a good education. Because of Clark's (I976) findings, the resu l t s of the current study were expected. It was not surprising, for example, to f i n d that more e f f e c t i v e writers had a strong desire for t h e i r children to do well. Nor was i t unexpected to learn that parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers were more s a t i s f i e d with writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools than were parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. What was most int e r e s t i n g among t h e s e r e s u l t s was that the parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers, while quite s a t i s f i e d with writing i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools, s t i l l f e l t i t was necessary to help t h e i r children learn the s k i l l s of reading and writing. 5 . Language modeling. As described in Chapter Two, H a l l (1976) described the homes of early writers as places where children regularly saw others writing. By using questionnaire and interview r e s u l t s the current study ascertained that both mothers and fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers participated in more writing a c t i v i t i e s at home than did the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. This was not an unexpected r e s u l t . Previous research had led 145 the r e s e a r c h e r to expect to f i n d t h a t more r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g was happening i n the homes of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . S e v e r a l q u e s t i o n s , however, remain unanswered. More i n f o r m a t i o n about what i s r e a d and what i s w r i t t e n i s needed. F u t u r e r e s e a r c h e r s s h o u l d a l s o e x p l o r e the m o t i v a t i o n s o f parent s t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . The c u r r e n t s tudy suggests t h a t p a r e n t a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g a c t i v i t i e s i s u s u a l l y prompted by the o c c u p a t i o n o f p a r e n t s or t h e i r l e i s u r e time p u r s u i t s ( f o r example w r i t i n g r e q u i r e d to be done f o r courses or c l u b s ) . A d e f i n i t i v e answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n by f u t u r e r e s e a r c h e r s would be u s e f u l i n f u r t h e r d e s c r i b i n g the environment which produces e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s . 6. The f a c t t h a t more mothers of more e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s than mothers o f l e s s e f f e c t i v e w r i t e r s i n the c u r r e n t s tudy worked o u t s i d e the home suggested tha t t h i s f a c t o r a lone was not as s t r o n g l y a s s o c i a t e d wi th r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l as p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h had suggested i t was. I n s t e a d , t h i s suggested t h a t perhaps the type o f job h e l d by mothers , the time a t which they a r r i v e d home, or the type o f care t h e i r c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e d were s t r o n g l y r e l a t e d to r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g s k i l l . The c u r r e n t s t u d y , i n f a c t , r e v e a l e d a s t r o n g e r 146 association between writing s k i l l and occupational s k i l l l e v e l of mothers than i t did between writing s k i l l and the fact that mothers worked. This fact supports the idea that something about the occupations held by- mothers was more important in the association between writing s k i l l and mothers' occupations than simply whether or not they held jobs outside the home. Future research to c l a r i f y what aspects of the occupational status of mothers are associated with w r i t i n g s k i l l would be h e l p f u l in describing t h i s i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . 7. Results which were not in the hypothesized d i r e c t i o n . (a) In conducting the current study, the researcher expected to fi n d that mothers of more ef f e c t i v e writers worked outside the home the same amount or with less frequency than did the mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. As reported, in Chapter Two, Clark (1976) found few mothers of early readers worked outside the home and H a l l (1976) reported that about 50 percent of the mothers of early readers worked outside the home. In the current study, however, more of the mothers of more e f f e c t i v e writers worked outside the home at some time since t h e i r children had been born than did mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Additionally, the percentage of mothers of more e f f e c t i v e writers who had worked outside the home was 81 percent - a much, higher figure 147 than expected. Future researchers should examine the question of why more mothers of children i n the higher achieving group worked outside the home than did mothers of children in the lower achieving group. The present study suggests that the association of t h i s f a c + o r alone with reading and wri t i n g s k i l l was not as strong as previous research had suggested. Perhaps some other aspect of the mother's work such as the type of job or the a r r i v a l time at home are factors which do influence reading and writing s k i l l . (b) Findings of H a l l (1976), Taylor (1981), Clark (1976), and Durkin (1966) describe an abundance of language modeling and inte r a c t i o n behaviors in the homes of children who had superior s k i l l s of reading and writing. The researcher i n the current study therefore expected to f i n d more help with writing being given to more ef f e c t i v e writers than to less e f f e c t i v e writers. The present study found that in the area of discussion of writing ideas t h i s was true but s l i g h t l y less help in the areas of getting started on a.-signments, r e v i s i n g , and proofreading was given by parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers than by parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers. Such findings suggest that i n the homes of more e f f e c t i v e writers more general interaction about reading and writing took place i n everyday l i f e than did in the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers. The 148 inter a c t i o n about writing which took place in the homes of less e f f e c t i v e writers, however, was usually s p e c i f i c and focused on help with assignments rather than general discussion about reading and writing. More descriptions of the inter a c t i o n about reading and writing which takes place between parents and t h e i r children needs to be gathered by future researchers. C. PROFILES OF WRITERS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS Results from the current study revealed the descriptions of more ef f e c t i v e writers and less e f f e c t i v e writers which follow. Asterisks indicate that s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the groups were found on that variable. 1. The Home Background of the More E f f e c t i v e Writer a) Characteristics of children in the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers: -early mastery of reading and writing s k i l l s * -a greater amount of le i s u r e time was spent p a r t i c i p a t i n g in reading and writ i n g a c t i v i t i e s by more e f f e c t i v e writers than by less e f f e c t i v e writers -strong preference f o r quiet indoor games and for playing alone * -less frequent t e l e v i s i o n viewing than less e f f e c t i v e writers 149 -a strong interest in school . b) Characte r i s t i c s of the parents of children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers: -more reading aloud to t h e i r children before t h e i r children learned to read * -more reading aloud to t h e i r children a f t e r t h e i r children read for themselves -placed more r e s t r i c t i o n s on children's t e l e v i s i o n viewing -regularly read preliminary drafts of t h e i r children's work -made reading and writing materials for t h e i r children's use re a d i l y available -parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers expressed strong agreement that parents should a c t i v e l y help out and v i s i t the schools * -expressed much s a t i s f a c t i o n with school instruction in reading -strongly believed that parents should help t h e i r children at home with learning the s k i l l s of reading and writing -strongly f e l t children should help by doing chores at home c) Charact e r i s t i c s of the mothers of students i n the group of more ef f e c t i v e writers: 150 -did several d i f f e r e n t kinds of writing both at home and at work -read through t h e i r children's assignments more often than the mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers did -regularly worked outside t h e i r homes -possessed highly s k i l l e d jobs and higher levels of education than the mothers of less e f f e c t i v e writers d) Characteristics of the fathers of children in the group of more e f f e c t i v e writers: * -wrote more l e t t e r s than fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers -regularly discussed ideas for writing with t h e i r children -held more highly s k i l l e d jobs than fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers did * -possessed higher l e v e l s of education than did the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers The Home Background of the Less E f f e c t i v e Writers a) Characteristics of less e f f e c t i v e writers: -showed less interest i n learning to p r i n t and less interest in school than did more e f f e c t i v e writers -were also reported to spend less of t h e i r 151 lei s u r e time writing, completing homework, and reading than more e f f e c t i v e writers did -had strong interest in active, outdoor games -watched more hours of t e l e v i s i o n each week than did more ef f e c t i v e writers b) Charact e r i s t i c s of the parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers: -provided fewer books and chalkboards for t h e i r children's use and read aloud to t h e i r children less often than did the parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers - r e s t r i c t e d the t e l e v i s i o n viewing of t h e i r children less - f e l t reluctant to v i s i t the school uninvited - f e l t somewhat d i s s a t i s f i e d with the job the schools were doing i n teaching reading and writing - f e l t less strongly (than the parents of more ef f e c t i v e writers did) that reading aloud should be done at home c) Characteristics of the mothers of children in the group of less e f f e c t i v e writers: -did fewer d i f f e r e n t kinds of writing at home and at work than did the mothers of more ef f e c t i v e writers 152 -held less highly s k i l l e d jobs and possessed lower l e v e l s of education than the mothers of more e f f e c t i v e writers did -worked outside the home less often than did the mothers of more e f f e c t i v e writers d) Charact e r i s t i c s of the fathers of less e f f e c t i v e writers: -wrote fewer l e t t e r s than did the fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers -held less highly s k i l l e d jobs and possessed lower l e v e l s of education than the fathers of more e f f e c t i v e writers did. D. EPILOGUE This study suggests that a good environment for an aspiring writer would be a home in which (1) reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s take place regularly and are often discussed; (2) parents and s i b l i n g s regularly model language s k i l l s and have po s i t i v e attitudes toward the acq u i s i t i o n of these s k i l l s ; (3) the educational and occupational s k i l l levels of parents are high and reading and writing materials are r e a d i l y accessible; and (4) a portion of the writer's l e i s u r e time i s devoted to quiet, indoor, creative a c t i v i t i e s including reading and writing while excluding large amounts of t e l e v i s i o n viewing. A high frequency of both reading and writing 153 a c t i v i t i e s taking place or being discussed at home were factors of home environment most clo s e l y associated with w r i t i n g s k i l l in the present study. Such a c t i v i t i e s are c l e a r l y a desirable component of the writer's environment. The factors of environment which are found by the current study to have the next strongest association with writing s k i l l were the language modelling and opinions of parents and s i b l i n g s . P ositive attitudes toward reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s , interest in helping children learn the s k i l l s , and regular modelling of reading and writing were features associated with better writing. The .current study found an association between writing s k i l l and certain home s i t u a t i o n factors; for example, educational and occupational s k i l l l e v e l and the number of books in the home. This association was not as strong as the one found between writing s k i l l and the frequency of language a c t i v i t i e s taking place at home. Leisure time that was devoted to a c t i v i t i e s other than reading and writing was not strongly associated with children's s k i l l of writing. However, i t has already been notes that the- better writers preferred 154 and spent s i g n i f i c a n t amounts of t h e i r l e i s u r e time in quiet, indoor a c t i v i t i e s which included reading and writing. The current study concurs with the findings of Durkin (1966) who concluded that home environment was causative in the superior achievement of children i n language s k i l l development (p. 10). The present study found children's reading and writing a c t i v i t i e s at home to be clos e l y associated with writing s k i l l . These results suggest the importance of encouraging writing at home. To paraphrase Hall (1976), to f a c i l i t a t e interest in both writing and reading and perhaps contribute to i n i t i a l success in school, parents should provide writing materials, write with t h e i r children, and demonstrate a model of writing behavior (p. 585)• 155 References Ainsworth, M. E., & Batten, E. J. (1974) . The ef f e c t s of environmental factors on secondary educational attainment in Manchester; a Plowden follow-up. Schools Council Publication . American Psychological Association. (1983) • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Artley, A. Steel (Chairman). (1954) . Inter-relationships among the language arts (A Research B u l l e t i n of the National Conference on Research in English) National Council of the Teachers of English. Banfield, J., Bowyer, C , & Wilkie, E. (I966). Parents and education- Educational Research, £ ( 1 ) , 65. Benjamin, A l f r e d . (I969). The helping interview. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n . Blount, Nathan S. (1973) Research in composition. i n Robert M. W. Travers (Ed.), Second handbook of research on teaching (pp 1084-1091) . Chicago: Rand McNally College Publishing. Borg, Walter R., & G a l l , Meredith D. (1979) . Educational research: An introduction. New York: Longman. Brandt, Ronald S. (1979) . Partners: Parents and schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 156 Burrows, A. T., Jackson, D.C, & Saunders, D.O. (1964) . They a l l want to write. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Campbell, William G. ( 1 9 6 9 ) . Form and st y l e i n thesis writing: Third E d i t i o n . Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n . Charach, Larry. ( 1 9 7 5 ) • Using mail questionnaires: The optimal methodology and an example (Educational Research Institute of B r i t i s h Columbia Reports: Report No. 7 5 : 3 4 ) . E.R.I.B.C. Clark, Margaret M. (1976) . Young fluent readers. London: Heinemann. De Stefano, Johanna S. (1981) tResearch update-classroom language learning: What do the resesrchers know? Language Arts. 58, 372-373. Donnison, D.V. (1967, October 2 6 ) . Education and Opinion. New Society, pp. 583-587. Drews, E.M., & Teahan, J.E. ( 1 9 5 7 ) . Parent attitudes and academic achievement. Journal of C l i n i c a l Psychology. 12 ( 4 ) , 328-332. Durkin, Dolores. ( 1 9 6 6 ) . Children who read early. New York: Teachers College Press. Fraser, Elizabeth D. ( 1 9 7 3 ) . Home environment and the school. Edinburgh: University of London Press. Garrett, Annette. ( 1 9 4 2 ) . Interviewing: i t s p r i n c i p l e s and methods. Family Welfare Association of America. 157 Goodacre, E. J. (19?0). School and homes A review of developments in school and home rel a t i o n s h i p s . National Foundation for Educational Research. Graves, Donald H. (I98O) Research updates A new look at writing research. Language Arts, 571 914_918. Graves, Donald H. (I98I) Research updates Where have a l l the teachers gone? Language Arts, 58, 496-497. Graves, Donald H. (I98I) Research update - writing research for the eighties. What i s needed. Language Arts, _i8, 201-204. H a l l , MaryAnne, Moretz, Sara A., Statom, Jodellano. (1976). Writing before grade one - A. study of early writers. Language Arts, 53. 582-585. Institute for Development of Educational A c t i v i t i e s . (1980). The most s i g n i f i c a n t minoritys One parent children in the schools. Dayton, OH. Jacobs, T. 0. (1974). Developing questionnaire itemss How to do i t well (Human Resources Research Organization). Alexandria, VA. Kahn, Robert L., & Cannell, Charles F. (i960) The dynamics of interviewings Theory, technique, and cases. New Yorks John Wiley & Sons. 158 L a i , Calvin. (1980 Revised, 1 9 8 3 ) . University of B r i t i s h Columbia S t a t i s t i c a l package for the s o c i a l sciences. Vancouver, Canada: University of B r i t i s h Columbia Computing Centre. L i c k t e i g r S i s t e r M. Joan. (1981) Recommendations for teachers of writing. Language Arts, 58. 44-52. Liston, Mary C. ( I 9 8 O ) Early readers: preschool children who learn to read at home (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 197 2 9 7 ) Maloney, Henry Bert. (I967) An i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of excellence in expository composition performance in a selected 9A population with an analysis of reasons for superior performance (Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n , Columbia University, I 9 6 7 ) . Dissertation Abstracts International. 6 8 , 2 4 3 2 . Michel, Henry C. ( 1 9 6 3 ) Research on teaching composition and l i t e r a t u r e In N.L. Gage (Ed.) Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 9 6 6 - 9 7 4 ) . Chicago: Rand McNally. Monk, Richard H.J. ( 1 9 5 8 ) . A Study to determine the rel a t i o n s h i p between children's home environments and t h e i r school achievement in written English. Unpublished doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n , University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Musgrove, F. ( I 9 6 I ) . Parents expectations of the junior school. S o c i o l o g i c a l Review. 9_ ( 2 ) , 167-180. 159 Oppenheim, A. M.(1966). Questionnaire design and attitude measurement. London: Heinemann. " Parents and the primary school: A survey of parental opinion. (1975). Educational Research, 17 (3). 229-235. Siegel, Sidney. (1956). Nonparametric S t a t i s t i c s for ; the Behavioral Sciences. New York, NY: McGraw- H i l l Book Company. Simpson, George F. (1973) Measures of writing a b i l i t y of fourth, f i f t h , and si x t h grade children (Doctoral dis s e r t a t i o n , Kent State University, 1973). Dissertation Abstracts International, 7_, 7339. S o c i a l and Community Planning Research. (1972). Questionnaire design manual (Technical manual number 5) The Institute of S o c i a l and Community Planning Research: London. Spence, Janet T., Cotton, John W,, Underwood, Benton J., & Duncan, Carl P. (19?6). Elementary S t a t i s t i c s . Englewood C l i f f s , MJ1 Prentice-Hall. Taylor, Denny. (I98I). The family and the development of l i t e r a c y s k i l l s and values. Journal of Research in Reading. 4 (2), 92-103. Van De Veghe, Richard. (1978). Research in written composition: Fi f t e e n years of investigation. New Mexico State University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 157 095) 1 6 0 Young, Michael, & McGeeney, Patrick. (1968). Learning "begins at home. London: Routledge & Regan Paul. 161 APPENDIX A Writers' Home Background Questionnaire and Directions for Completion The questions ask you to c i r c l e a number in front of a sentence, mark a box, or write a short answer to a question. For questions that give three or more numbered choices, please choose the answer which you most closely agree with and c i r c l e the number i n front of i t . Some questions w i l l contain a scale with choices of answers from one extreme to another (for example: strongly agree to strongly disagree). On these questions, boxes w i l l be provided and. you are to put an X in the box which corresponds to your preference for each part of the question. If no choice i s given, blanks w i l l be provided. Please answer in a word or two or a short sentence i f you l i k e . Since t h i s questionnaire concerns the home environment of your c h i l d who brought the questionnaire home, please keep his/her experience i n mind as you answer the questions. 162 WRITER'S HOME BACKGROUND QUESTIONNAIRE Directions: Please circle the number which corresponds Co the answer of your choice. READING AND WRITING ACTIVITIES A YOUR ACTIVITIES 1. a) Indicate the number of letters you usually write at home. 1. one or more each week 2. or two each month 3. fewer than one per month 4. none- I use other means to contact friends and relatives b) Tell how many letters your husband usually writes at home. 1. one or more each week 2. one or two each month 3. fewer than one per month 4. none- he uses other means to contact friends and relatives c) What other types of writing do you do *t home? What other types of writing do you do at work, i f you work out- side the heme? 5 TODS C__'S ACTIVITIES How often does your child bring home a written assignment which has been handed back to her/him for you to look at? Please do not nark in this column. 1. quits rsgularly 2. 8ometlir.es 3. occasionally 4. never 1 6 3 3. Please describe how often your child uses his leisure time at home to do writing (excluding homework assignments) by circling the num- ber next to your answer choice below. 1. once every day or more often 2. every couple of days 3. about once a week 4. about once a month or less often 5. she/he rarely writes at home 6. she/he never writes at home 4. Indicate the s k i l l with which your child printed upon entering grade one. 1. he/she did not print 2. he/she printed a few things (name, etc.) 3. he/she printed most things 5. Try to recall the age at which your child f i r s t showed an interest in learning how to print. Please indicate that age by circling the num- ber beside i t on the l i s t below. 1. three years of age 3. five years of age 2. four years of age 4. six years of age 6. Please t e l l how often your child does each of the following types of writing at home by putting an X in one of the boxes beside each type of writing. 1. letters 2. stories 3. poems 4. diaries Please do not mark in this column. • • • • 5. other (please describe) 7. Which type of writing Listed below would yon say your child does best? 1. letters 2. stories 3. poems 4. notes 5. diaries 6. other (please describe) 8. To the best of your knowledge, what was the order in which your child learned how to print and how to read? 1. f i r s t printing was learned; then reading 2. the two skil l s were learned at about the same time 3. f i r s t reading was learned; then printing 9. a) About how often does your child usually work on homework? 1. each school night 2. two or three school nights each week 3. once a week or less often b) When your child works on homework, how long does he/she usually spend? 1. one hour or longer 3. thirty minutes 2. forty-five minutes 4.. fifteen minutes or less 10. Before your child attended school, what attempts did you make to teach her/him how to print? 1. I made no attempts to teach printing. 2. I shoved her/him how to form letters. 3. I let her/him experiment on her/his own and provided materials 4. other (please describe) 165 a. When your child has a written assignment to do for school. Indicate the frequency with which you give the following kinds of help by placing an X in one of the boxes beside each activity. Q. Q- A) help on getting started or coming up with ideas B) help on revising or making It mere clear to the reader C) help on proofreading (check- ing the correctness of spelling and punctuation) • • • • 12. a) How often does your child bring home a written assignment which has already received a mark from a teacher to show you? 1. regularly 2. occasionally 3. seldom 4. never b) Again, place an X in one of the boxes beside each activity l i s t - ed below to show how often you do that activity. When your child shows you a written assignment which has already received a mark from a teacher, how often do you: A) read through the paper yourself B) contact the teacher to dis- cuss the assignment 05?" & NJQi • • • • • • • • 13. Please think back to the time before your child had learned to read for hicself/herself. Which of the phrases below best describes the amount of reading aloud you did to him/her then? one or more times each day 4. once every few weeks Please do not mark in this column. • • • • • • 2. once every few days 3. once a week 5. rarely 6. never 166 L4 -Since-your child has.learned to read for herself/himself, how often do you read aloud to her/him? 1. one or more times each day 2. once every few days 3. once a week 4. once every few weeks 5. rarely 6. never Please do not mark in this column. • BACKGROUND A) GENERAL INFORMATION 15. Please indicate which of the phrases below best describes a chalk- board of any size in your home. 1. We do not have a chalkboard of any size in our home. 2. i t is a large one- free standing or attached to a wall 3. i t is a small one- carried by children and used on the lap 16. How many books for children would you estimate that you have in your home? 1. more than f i f t y 2. between twenty-one and f i f t y 3. between eleven and twenty 4. ten or fewer P • 17. If you have ever worked outside the home at any time since your child was born, please answer the following questions. If you have not worked outside the home since he/she was born, please go on to question number eighteen after putting an X in this box.j—| a) How much did you work, on the average, btf.ore your child started to attend school? 1. - less than two.hours per day 2. between two and four hours per day 3. between four and six hours per day 4. between six and eight hours per day • 5. eight hours per day or more 167 18. b) Describe the amount you work at the present time. 1. I do not work outside the home at the present time. 2. I finish work before 3:00 pm. 3. I finish work between 3:00 and 4:30 pm. 4. I finish work between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. 5. I finish work after 6:00 pm. If either of your child's natural parents are not currently in the home, please answer the following questions. If both of his/her natural parents are in the home, go on to question number nineteen after putting an X in this box, j — | a) Bow old was your child when one parent l e f t the family? years- b) If a new parent entered the family, (for example the remarriage of the parent with the child) how old was your child when this happened? years E) INFORMATION ABOUT YOU 19. What was the highest grade l a school which you attained? 1. senior secondary school 4. technical training 2. gT9--'- twelve graduate S. some university 3. cc-ouaity -college 6. university graduate 20. What was the highest grade i n school which your husband attained? 1. soma senior secondary school 4. technical training 2. grade twelve graduate 5. some university 3. concr—iity college 6. university graduate 21. What Is the present occupation of the male parent or guardian? Please do not mark in this column. • • • • • 168 22. What is your current occupation? Please do not mark in this column. • LEISURE TIME ACTIVITIES OF YOUR CHILD 23. About how much television viewing does your child do each week? 1. no television viewing whatsoever 2. five cr fewer hours per week 3. six to ten hours per week 4. eleven to fifteen hours per week 5. more than fifteen hours per week Please explain any restrictions which you place on your child's television viewing. • 24. 25. When your child has no playmates.(such as brothers, sisters, or friends) and has to occupy himself, indicate the frequency with which he/she chooses to do each of the activities below by placing an X in one of the boxes beside each activity. A) looks at books or magazines B) watches television C) participates in active, outdoor games D) makes things with his/her hands E) plays quiet, indoor games How often does your child play alone? 1. regularly 2. sometimes 3. rarely • • • • ••no •••• •••• • • • • • • 169 26. From which of Che sources listed below would you say your child gets most of her/his information about current events such as elections, world happenings, and Canadian affairs? 1. reading about them in newspapers and magazines 2. family discussions 3. listening to radio newscasts 4. seeing and listening to television newscasts 5. discussions at school YOUR OPINIONS 27. Indicate the amount of interest your child shows in school. 1. extremely interested 2. adequately interested 3. sometimes he/she likes i t ; sometimes he/she doesn't 4. not at. a l l Interested 28. a) How satisfied are you with Che way reading is being taught in the schools? 1. very satisfied 2. satisfied 3. dissatisfied 4. very dissatisfied b) How satisfied are you with the way writing Is being taught. In the schools? (how to write sentences and paragraphs) 1. very satisfied 2. satisfied 3. dissatisfied 4. very dissatisfied 29. Tell how much you agree or disagree with each statement below by placing an X in one of the boxes beside each statement.- nl' vA «/ The Ideal parent should: A) check his child's homework regularly B) volunteer to help with school activities •••• ••••• Please do not mark in this column. • • • • 170 29. Continue to t e l l how much you agree or disagree with each, statement below by placing an X in one of the boxes beside each statement. The ideal parent should: C) help his/her child learn to read and write D) not go to the school unless asked to E) be aware of new teaching methods ^ *> $ < • • • • • ••••• 30. How much do you agree or disagree with each of the statements below? Continue to show your opinion by placing an X beside each statement in one of the boxes. Nowadays, children such as my child should: A) be read to regularly when they are small B) help pay for the b i l l s at home C) receive parental help on schoolwork when needed D) help to do the family grocery shopping E) be able tc make most of their own choices about books to read and programs to watch F) clean up their rooms with- out being reminded G) help at home by doing reg- ular chores H) not always be asking their parents hov to do their homework *><5j • •••• •••CD ••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• .••••• ••••• Please do not mark in this column. • • • • • • • • • • THANK YOU FOR TOUR HELP. 171 APPENDIX B Covering L e t t e r to Parents May 1983 Dear Mothers, Thank you f o r t a k i n g time t o answer t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e . I am a graduate student a t the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia who r e s i d e s permanently and works i n Kamloops and I i n t e n d to use the i n f o r m a t i o n gathered through t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e i n my Master's degree t h e s i s . I am t a k i n g every p r e c a u t i o n to make your answers to t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e anonymous so t h a t n e i t h e r you nor your c h i l d w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by name. You are not, of course, r e q u i r e d to answer the q u e s t i o n n a i r e or any of the q u e s t i o n s i n i t but your help would be most a p p r e c i a t e d . I f you do not wish to answer the q u e s t i o n n a i r e , p l e a s e r e t u r n i t , unanswered, u s i n g the procedures d e s c r i b e d below. The purpose of t h i s study i s to examine how some f a c t o r s i n a student's environment i n f l u e n c e the way he/she w r i t e s . An example of such a f a c t o r would be the number of books he/she reads. Such i n f o r m a t i o n may enable us to b e t t e r improve the w r i t i n g s k i l l s of s t u d e n t s . To ensure t h a t your q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l be anonymous, would you please i n s e r t i t i n the unmarked s m a l l e r 172 envelope a f t e r you have completed i t ? Then w r i t e your name on the l a r g e r envelope and i n s e r t the completed q u e s t i o n n a i r e i n i t s s m a l l e r envelope i n t o the l a r g e r one. The s c h o o l s e c r e t a r y w i l l check the names o f f a l i s t as the q u e s t i o n n a i r e s are r e t u r n e d and throw away the l a r g e r envelopes. I w i l l be g i v e n the completed q u e s t i o n n a i r e s i n t h e i r unmarked s m a l l e r envelopes o n l y . I w i l l attempt to c o n t a c t those whose q u e s t i o n n a i r e s are not r e t u r n e d but w i l l not know which q u e s t i o n n a i r e you completed. Thank you f o r completing the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Completing i t assumes your consent to use the data. Please take as long as you l i k e to complete the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . People who completed i t d u r i n g an e a r l i e r study found i t took them twenty to t h i r t y minutes. S i n c e r e l y , P.S. My phone number i s , and I would be most happy to answer any q u e s t i o n s you might have about the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Please t u r n over f o r d i r e c t i o n s . 173 APPENDIX C Interviewee Letters June 1983 Dear Mothers, Within the l a s t few weeks a questionnaire was brought home by your son/daughter in grade six/seven and you were requested to respond to i t and return i t to your c h i l d ' s school. The questionnaire was part of a study being conducted by a University of B r i t i s h Columbia student who l i v e s in Kamloops and who i s completing a Master's degree t h e s i s . As an additional part of that same study ten people who received questionnaires are being asked to provide further information about t h e i r children's home environment by agreeing to a short interview on the subject. You are one of those with whom I would l i k e to meet in order to talk over some additional questions about your chil d ' s experiences over the years as they have related to his development of writing s k i l l s . A l l of the questions w i l l be d i f f e r e n t ones that, of course, were not on the questionnaire which you have already seen and the t o t a l time we would need for such a discussion would be approximately twenty minutes. I w i l l be telephoning you within the next week to arrange a time that we could meet, undisturbed, to have 174 such a discussion. If you would c a r e f u l l y consider t h i s request "between now and then and l e t me know when I c a l l what times would be most appropriate for you I would greatly appreciate i t . I can come to your home whenever i t i s convenient f o r you. Thank you very much f o r your help. Sincerely, P.S. Please don't hesitate to c a l l me at you have any questions. i f 175 APPENDIX D Interview Agenda a) Please t e l l how o f t e n , i f a t a l l , shows you w r i t t e n work t h a t i s to be handed i n before he/she hands i t i n a t s c h o o l . Does t h i s happen o f t e n ? b) Does t a l k to you about ideas f o r w r i t i n g ? c) How many times would you say has read you a d r a f t of an assignment? d) Does ever ask you to check s p e l l i n g , p u n c t u a t i o n , and sentence sense of an assignment? How o f t e n does t h i s happen? e) What other kinds of h e l p can you remember g i v i n g on w r i t i n g assignments? a) Do you remember ever h e l p i n g a t home s p e c i f i c a l l y i n l e a r n i n g to read before he/she attended grade one? b) How d i d show i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g to read? c) Could you d e s c r i b e the k i n d of help which you gave? d) How d i d f e e l about the help he/she was r e c e i v i n g ? e) what was your a t t i t u d e toward g i v i n g t h i s type of h e l p ? f ) Why d i d you decide to help (or not to help) l e a r n to read at home? 176 3. a)Approximately how much of 's out of s c h o o l time i s spent devoted e x c l u s i v e l y to homework assignments? b)About how o f t e n would you say shares an a c t i v i t y w i t h one of h i s parents (with no other f a m i l y member i n v o l v e d ) such as going to a movie tog e t h e r ? d a i l y , two or th r e e times a week, once weekly, twice or three times a month, monthly, l e s s o f t e n than monthly 4. a)Did know how to read when she/he began grade one? b) How much d i d he/she know? Try to r e c a l l when he/she began to read. c) what s o r t o f t h i n g s d i d ' do? d) Did she/he do a l o t of s c r i b b l i n g ? e) Did she/he draw people and o b j e c t s ? f ) Did she/he copy l e t t e r s o f the alphabet? g) Did she/he ask q u e s t i o n s about s p e l l i n g ? h) Other kinds o f behavior? i ) What s o r t of q u e s t i o n s d i d ask about r e a d i n g ? j)Can you give an example? 5. a)Do you remember going t o the s c h o o l over the years a t a l l and t a l k i n g about t e a c h i n g w i t h •s t e a c h e r ? 177 5. b)When was t h i s ? c) How o f t e n d i d i t happen? d) What d i d the teacher say? e) What d i d you say? f ) What sparked your i n t e r e s t ? g) I f you have never gone t o see a t e a c h e r i n such a way, why have you chosen not t o ? h) Have you always been i n t e r e s t e d i n r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g ? i ) Why d i d you go to see the teacher ( i f you d i d go)? j)Were you s a t i s f i e d w i t h the outcome of your v i s i t ? 6. a ) I f were t o have d i f f i c u l t i e s w i t h h i s schoolwork, what steps would you take to overcome these d i f f i c u l t i e s ? b)What r e s o u r c e s are a v a i l a b l e f o r parents to use i n h e l p i n g t h e i r c h i l d r e n ? Here are some o p t i o n s you might choose to answer p a r t one of t h i s q u e s t i o n with: s u p e r v i s e h i s / h e r homework time, help him/her wi t h the homework, p r o v i d e e x t r a m a t e r i a l s , check the homework, h i r e a t u t o r , other 7. a)Does watch any c e r t a i n t e l e v i s i o n programs r e g u l a r l y ? b) Can you name one or two of them? c) Do you ever d i s c u s s w i t h what she/he has watched? 178 7. d ) I f not, why not? e) I f you do d i s c u s s t e l e v i s i o n programs which have been watched, what t o p i c s do you u s u a l l y d i s c u s s ? f ) i e . does _ask q u e s t i o n s about what he/she saw? g) Do you ask q u e s t i o n s to see how has responded,etc.? h) Do you ever d i s c u s s t h i n g s reads with him/her? i ) What do you u s u a l l y d i s c u s s ? (see above q u e s t i o n s ) 8. In today's s o c i e t y , what i s the purpose of education? i e . to h e l p c h i l d r e n prepare f o r what l i e s ahead. 9. a)How would you d e s c r i b e i n a few words? (see i f any of the f o l l o w i n g d e s c r i p t o r s come up) s e l f s u f f i c i e n t , p e r s e v e r i n g , s e l f - c o n t r o l l e d , f a s t i d i o u s , i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c b ) I f were asked t o do some r e p e t i t i v e task such as unl o a d i n g a pick-up l o a d of wood, or t a k i n g out the garbage, or p r a c t i c e p l a y i n g a mus i c a l instrument, or c l e a n i n g up h i s room, how might t y p i c a l l y r e a c t ? 1 0 . a)What can the s c h o o l s do t o inform you b e t t e r about what i s going on i n 's s c h o o l ? b) What e l s e would you l i k e t o know about what i s happening a t 's s c h o o l ? c) What can the s c h o o l do b e t t e r than i t i s doing now? 179 APPENDIX E The Home and Work W r i t i n g H a b i t s of Mothers Reported types of w r i t i n g done a t home by Mothers of More E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s Messages grocery l i s t s t h i n g s t o do l i s t s messages (three respondents) Working with f i g u r e s bookeeping r e c o r d keeping E d u c a t i o n a l l y r e l a t e d w r i t i n g marking exams t a k i n g minutes at meetings completing course assignments o l e s s o n p r e p a r a t i o n (three respondents) p r e p a r i n g p u b l i c t a l k s (two respondents) making notes from r e f e r e n c e m a t e r i a l B i b l e study l e s s o n completion (two respondents) C r e a t i v e w r i t i n g w r i t i n g poems ( e i g h t respondents) w r i t i n g newspaper and magazine a r t i c l e s (two respondents) d a i l y j o u r n a l w r i t i n g d i a r y (seven respondents) s h o r t s t o r i e s ( f o u r respondents) 180 essays f o r E n g l i s h 100 essays (three respondents) o r i g i n a l songs Other types of w r i t i n g done at home schedules s e c r e t a r y f o r community group - type minutes c a l l i g r a p h y w r i t i n g n e w s l e t t e r s p r o f e s s i o n a l r e p o r t s resumes i n f o r m a t i o n wanted crossword p u z z l e s computer programs answering surveys Reported types of w r i t i n g done at work by Mothers of More E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s Orders and forms i n s t r u c t i o n s c o n t r a c t s Formal w r i t i n g memos b r i e f s Reports programs assessments l i f e / d e a t h claims daybook p l a n n i n g 181 Other types of writing done at work notes to parents newsletters ads procedure manuals Reported types of writing done at home by Mothers of Less E f f e c t i v e Writers Recipe Copying reported by one respondent Messages instructions for children's duties some church work Working with figures b i l l i n g s and statements cheque writing bookkeeping Educationally related writing notebook writing prayerbook writing notes on talks at church completing course assignments preparing public talks studying Creative writing writing poems w r i t i n g newspaper and magazine a r t i c l e s d a i l y j o u r n a l w r i t i n g books of remembrance d i a r y cookbook hobby books s h o r t s t o r i e s Other types of w r i t i n g done at home bookwork cards work r e p o r t s help c h i l d with assignments Reported types of w r i t i n g done at work by Mothers Less E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s Orders and forms o r d e r i n g accounts r e c e i v a b l e schedules (three respondents) banking i n f o r m a t i o n l o g books a c c o u n t i n g i n v o i c e s purchase orders s t a f f reviews Reports r e p o r t i n g on r e s i d e n t s n u r s i n g c h a r t i n g (two respondents) schoolwork d i r e c t i v e s Other types of w r i t i n g done a t work numbers e t c . data, i n f o r m a t i o n 184 APPENDIX F Parents' Other Attempts to Teach P r i n t i n g t o t h e i r P r e s c h o o l C h i l d r e n A c t i v i t i e s Reported by the Parents of Students i n the Group of Less E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s 1) knew alphabet i n any order a t 2* years 2) weekly l i b r a r y t r i p s 3) my c h i l d watched Sesame S t r e e t (two respondents) 4) I encouraged p i c t u r e books 5) I taught how to p r i n t name, alphabet, address, phone number 6) had fun w i t h F i s h e r - P r i c e s c h o o l desk ( p i c t u r e s and w r i t t e n words 7) c h i l d was i n a day-care c e n t e r 8) taught alphabet and l e t t e r sounds f i r s t , then words .9) p a i n t i n g , playdough f o r p r e - p r i n t i n g ; p l a y s c h o o l p r i n t e d words then sounded them out. 10) c i r c l e d words i n magazines as c h i l d l e a r n e d them as a game 11) v e r y l i t t l e - made sure he c o u l d s p e l l h i s name 12) p r i n t e d words and c h i l d c o p i e d them. We t o l d her what they s a i d or she d i c t a t e d i t f i r s t 13) taught her to s p e l l some words 185 A c t i v i t i e s Reported by the Parents of Students i n the Group of More E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s 1) o l d e r s i b l i n g s s t i m u l a t e d i n t e r e s t 2) as asked, I c o r r e c t l y demonstrated l e t t e r s and she c o p i e d them 3) he was v e r y keen and I showed him whatever he asked k) showed c h i l d the alphabet and name i n fun 5) gave her p e n c i l s and paper (two respondents) 6) read l o t s to her 7) c h i l d uses d i c t i o n a r y a l o t 8) showed her words i n her book as examples 9) purchased books on how to begin 186 APPENDIX G The Occupations of Mothers and Fat h e r s Occupations Reported by Parents of Students i n the Group of Less E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s U n s k i l l e d occupations j a n i t o r c o n s t r u c t i o n l a b o r e r arena attendant warehouseman l o g l o a d e r l e t t e r c a r r i e r domestic h e l p m i l l w o r k e r salesman S e m i - s k i l l e d occupations t r u c k d r i v e r c a s h i e r s e r v i c e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e p i p e f i t t e r l o g g i n g c o n t r a c t o r welder food s e r v i c e worker f l o o r l a y e r c l e r k insurance r e p r e s e n t a t i v e fireman s e c r e t a r y S k i l l e d occupations machine operator post s u p e r v i s o r policeman m i l l w r i g h t p a r t s manager government agent food f l o o r manager c a r p e n t e r r e g i s t e r e d nurse mechanic b l a s t e r r a i l t r a f f i c o p e r a t o r g e n e r a l c o n t r a c t o r a s s i s t a n t s e r v i c e manager e l e c t r i c i a n c o n t r o l systems manager 187 Business and Managerial Occupations s t o r e owner a s s i s t a n t bank manager s t o r e manager engineer d i r e c t o r of personnel owns own business P r o f e s s i o n a l Occupations g e o l o g i s t t e a c h e r pharmac i s t Other responses handicapped unemployed Occupations Reported by Parents of Students i n the Group of More E f f e c t i v e W r i t e r s U n s k i l l e d occupations switchboard operator m i l l w o r k e r warehouseman n i g h t manager j a n i t o r b u i l d i n g maintenance S e m i - s k i l l e d occupations t e a c h e r - a i d e w a i t r e s s c l e r k r a i l w a y brakeman accounts c l e r k e l e c t r o n i c t e c h n i c i a n p r a c t i c a l nurse t r u c k d r i v e r t r a i n conductor engraver telephone operator baker l o g g e r h e a l t h care worker trainman stenographer lumber grader meat c u t t e r 188 cook s e c r e t a r y insurance r e p r e s e n t a t i v e heavy equipment operator bookkeeper l i b r a r y aide S k i l l e d occupations c a r p e n t e r t r a i n engineer l e g a l surveyor warehouse manager musician p r i s o n c h a p l a i n e l e c t r i c i a n welder h e a l t h care nurse policeman r e g i s t e r e d nurse d e n t a l a s s i s t a n t l o g g e r , s k i d d e r d r i v e r p h y s i o t h e r a p i s t heavy duty machine operator c a b i n e t maker p r o d u c t i o n superintendent e l e c t r i c a l c o n t r a c t o r l a b t e c h n i c i a n Business and Managerial owns d r i l l i n g business businessman o p e r a t i o n s s u p e r v i s o r s m a l l business owner engineer speech t h e r a p i s t company manager branch manager supermarket manager P r o f e s s i o n a l Occupations s c h o o l p r i n c i p a l t e acher p s y c h o l o g i s t s o c i a l work ( p r i v a t e p r a c t i c chemist head of c o l l e g e department 189 Other Responses on welfare on compensation unemployed mother - lady in waiting housewife - otherwise known as domestic engineer 190 APPENDIX H Table 30 Restrictions on the t e l e v i s i o n viewing of children Frequency Description of R e s t r i c t i o n Less More Ef f e c t i v e E f f e c t i v e time r e s t r i c t i o n s not more than two hours Saturdays 0 1 not a f t e r 9 pm 4 9 not a f t e r 9*30 pm 1 1 not a f t e r 10 pm 0 2 not u n t i l homework i s completed 7 10 limited when c h i l d i s busy 1 1 not too long at a time 1 0 no longer than one hour at a time 0 2 not during the daytime 1 0 not during daytime i f weather i s nice 2 0 early evening viewing only 0 1 maximum two hours per day 1 1 not a f t e r dinner on weeknights 1 1 8am to 10 am only 1 0 only on Saturday morning 1. 0 only a f t e r chores completed 2 2 maximum one hour per school day 2 0 l i t t l e allowed during the week 0 1 191 type of show r e s t r i c t i o n s no sadist shows 0 , 1 no murder or highly rated crime shows 1 1 no scary shows 1 1 no occult shows 1 0 no v i o l e n t shows 3 14 no immoral shows 1 0 no pornography, lewd, suggestive shows 2 2 no adult, sex-related or R rated shows 1 10 encouraged watching of educational shows 2 0 no shows depicting sexual behavior 1 0 limited viewing of war shov/s 1 0 no shows with much swearing or crude speech 0 3 no satanic movies 0 1 no horror shows 0 > 8 no shows i n bad taste 0 1 no garbage 0 1 no sitcoms 0 1 rarely see cartoons 0 1 no soaps 0 1 192 p a r e n t a l guidance i n v i e w i n g previewed by parents i n t e l e v i s i o n guide 0 1 only programs we approve of are watched 2 8 i n a p p r o p r i a t e programs not allowed 0 1 programs are s e l e c t e d as a f a m i l y 1 1 p l e a s u r a b l e f a m i l y viewing only 2 3 c e r t a i n programs not allowed 1 0 p r e - s c r e e n i n g by parents f o r v i o l e n c e 1 1 other a c t i v i t i e s are encouraged 1 0 d i s c u s s what i s not understood 1 1 any good q u a l i t y show allowed (not n e c e s s a r i l y e d u c a t i o n a l ) 1 0 c h i l d r e n are i n s t r u c t e d to not b e l i e v e a l l they see and hear 0 1 discourage watching of s i l l y shows such as Dukes 0 1 no r u l e s but a t t i t u d e i s t e l e v i s i o n watching i s a no-no 0 1 other r e s t r i c t i o n s we have poor r e c e p t i o n so we seldom watch 0 2 he does other t h i n g s when he has them to do 1 0 c h i l d only i n t e r e s t e d i n " L i t t l e House'and " D i f f e r e n t Strokes* 0 1 t e l e v i s i o n watching has i n c r e a s e d i n past year 0 1 we have no t e l e v i s i o n t e l e v i s i o n doesn't interest her so no r e s t r i c t i o n s c h i l d usually chooses news programs 194 APPENDIX I Unsolicited questionnaire comments of parents Comments by parents of more e f f e c t i v e writers Concerning chil d ' s writing i n his l e i s u r e time writes about once a month or less, often during the summer (less often in winter) Concerning chil d ' s i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t in learning to print showed f i r s t interest in learning to p r i n t before one year of age. Concerning chil d ' s best type of writing i f i t wasn't l e t t e r s , s t o r i e s , poems, notes, or d i a r i e s novel reports reports school assignments class work guide work cartoon dialogues card verses songs descriptive paragraphs paragraphs Concerning the amount of reading aloud done by parents since t h e i r children learned to read f o r themselves a) read aloud u n t i l about grade three but not anymore b) rarely read aloud - frequency has decreased as c h i l d has gotten older. Concerning chalkboards in the home a) c h i l d l o s t interest and board was given away b) used l o t s of paper Concerning whether or not both natural parents of c h i l d are in the home children are adopted 195 Concerning the educational l e v e l attained by fathers a) grade 13 graduate b) one course short of degree Concerning a c t i v i t i e s c h i l d p a r t icipates i n when alone a) reads b) plays with computer Concerning how often c h i l d plays alone an only c h i l d Concerning the s a t i s f a c t i o n of parents with reading in s t r u c t i o n in the schools a) standards are not high enough b) depends on teacher c) can't answer, my children read before s t a r t i n g school d) varies from s a t i s f i e d to d i s s a t i s f i e d Concerning the s a t i s f a c t i o n of parents with writing 1 i n s t r u c t i o n in the schools a) s p e l l i n g less than s a t i s f a c t o r y b) I'm d i s s a t i s f i e d - unsure i f problem i s the teaching or the learning c) depends on the teacher's i n i t i a t i v e Concerning whether or not the i d e a l parent should check his chi l d ' s homework regularly a) as an expression of interest only b) c h i l d has to be responsible 196 Concerning whether or not the i d e a l parent should v o l u n t e e r to help with s c h o o l a c t i v i t i e s a) where? b) as much as i s reasonably p o s s i b l e c) i f time permits Concerning whether or not the i d e a l parent should h e l p h i s c h i l d l e a r n to read and w r i t e a) depends on the circumstances b) r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s on the tea c h e r c) only i f the parent i s competent to do so Concerning whether or not the i d e a l parent should be aware of new t e a c h i n g methods parents should be informed of c u r r i c u l u m and of any changes Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should help pay f o r the b i l l s a t home a) which b i l l s ? b) depends upon c h i l d ' s income - i f any c) a t what age? d) should be aware of the b i l l s Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should r e c e i v e p a r e n t a l h e l p on schoolwork when needed i f the parent can do i t Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should be able t o make most of t h e i r own c h o i c e s about books t o read and programs t o watch a) depends on the c h i l d b) a t what age? 1 9 7 Concerning whether or not children should not always be asking t h e i r parents how to do t h e i r homework a) only when not understood b) not as a way of shirking work c) depends on how capable the student i s Comments by parents of less e f f e c t i v e writers Concerning child's best type of writing i f i t wasn't l e t t e r s , s t o r i e s , poems, notes. or d i a r i e s essays short descriptive writing copying words from hockey cards making up games such as treasure hunt maps Concerning amount of homework c h i l d does i t depends on the teacher - th i s years there have been no homework assignments Concerning the types of help with writing which parents give w i l l i n g to help in a l l areas but i t i s seldom required. Concerning the frequency with which children bring home marked assignments for parents to see teacher doesn't hand them back, but seldom Concerning the response of parents when they see written assignments which have been marked by a teacher a) both parents always read through the paper b) the teacher i s contacted for a discussion only i f there are problems 198 Concerning the amount of r e a d i n g aloud done by parents s i n c e t h e i r c h i l d r e n l e a r n e d to read f o r themselves a) read aloud f o r about two years a f t e r the c h i l d c o u l d read f o r him or h e r s e l f b) u s u a l l y read aloud something i n t e r e s t i n g from the newspaper c) r a r e l y read aloud - which I had the time Concerning chalkboards i n the home we have a s m a l l one on the w a l l Concerning the number of books f o r c h i l d r e n i n the home a) we have about 200 or so b) c h i l d b r i n g s home books from the l i b r a r y a l l the time and reads them, there are between 21 and 50 i n our home. Concerning whether or not both n a t u r a l parents o f c h i l d are i n the home new parent i s gone f i v e days per week Concerning the e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l a t t a i n e d by f a t h e r s a) ex-husband i l l i t e r a t e b) t e a c h e r s ' c o l l e g e c) B i b l e s c h o o l Concerning a c t i v i t i e s c h i l d p a r t i c i p a t e s i n when alone a) l o v e s A r c h i e comics b) b i k i n g Concerning the s a t i s f a c t i o n o f parents with w r i t i n g i n s t r u c t i o n i n the schools a) standards not hig h enough 199 b) c o n s t r u c t i o n and more emphasis on E n g l i s h language needed. Concerning whether or not the i d e a l parent should check h i s c h i l d ' s homework r e g u l a r l y home and s c h o o l should work tog e t h e r and s t r i v e f o r a q u a l i t y education Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should help pay f o r the b i l l s a t home a) c h i l d should l e a r n f i n a n c i a l d i s c i p l i n e from parent's example t o pay b i l l s b) should understand not p h y s i c a l l y pay Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should be a b l e to make most of t h e i r own c h o i c e s about books t o read and programs t o watch a) with some input from parents b) with r e s e r v a t i o n s c) depends d) must be allowed freedom a f t e r b e i n g taught your moral judgements f o r 13 years e) with guidance Concerning whether or not c h i l d r e n should not always be a s k i n g t h e i r parents how to do t h e i r homework a) depends b) they should t h i n k , t h i n k use the grey c e l l s - i f not understood seek our he l p Other u n s o l i c i t e d comments a) I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o answer the q u e s t i o n n a i r e because 200 we are f o s t e r p a r e n t s . The c h i l d came when f o u r , r e t u r n e d t o n a t u r a l parents and then back to us from 6 £ to 13 years of age (the present) I f e e l h a v ing h i s or her own room/desk i s very important T h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e b r i n g s to the f o r e my most s e r i o u s concern about today's e d u c a t i o n a l system. The e n t i r e e d u c a t i o n system i s geared to " i n f o r m i n g " students as to the f a c t s , how-to's and why's of a v a r i e t y of s u b j e c t s . Sadly, they are m i s s i n g the ONE most v i t a l and v a l u a b l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y - TO TEACH A STUDENT HOW TO LEARN, FOR HIM/HERSELF. The only reason I am very s a t i s f i e d about the way w r i t i n g i s taught to my c h i l d i s because h i s c l a s s i s doing the Process of W r i t i n g . I f you had asked me t h i s q u e s t i o n l a s t year I would have answered very d i s s a t i s f i e d . The Process of W r i t i n g has taught my c h i l d more i n e i g h t months than he has ever l e a r n e d i n h i s e n t i r e s c h o o l i n g ! I f e e l you are being d i s c r i m i n a t o r y by a s k i n g mothers t o f i l l t h i s out. Why not e i t h e r parent? 201 APPENDIX J Guidelines to Teachers for Selecting More E f f e c t i v e Writers and Less E f f e c t i v e Writers Teachers of Grade 6 and 7 Students, -Think of a l l students in your school (and at a p a r t i c u l a r grade l e v e l ) as f a l l i n g into three groups of a b i l i t y in written compositions A) top t h i r d B) middle t h i r d and C) bottom t h i r d -Choose students on the basis of o v e r a l l a b i l i t y in written composition. -Don't only consider the mechanical aspects of writing but also consider content, unity, emphasis, method of presentation, etc. -Endeavour to consider the student's performance in a l l subject areas which require written expression. -For purposes of t h i s study, select v i r t u a l l y no students who f a l l into the middle t h i r d of the students at t h e i r grade l e v e l . -Please do not select any students who have severe, rare, and special problems with written expression. -Additionally, outstandingly good writers who are far superior to a l l other students at t h e i r grade l e v e l should not be selected. -Group sizes Choose a group of ten more e f f e c t i v e writers and a group of ten less e f f e c t i v e writers at each of the sp e c i f i e d grade levels using the c r i t e r i a already described. -Students shouldn't be selected on the basis of sex. For example boys should not be chosen over g i r l s i n order to "even up" the number of students of each sex in a group. - I t would greatly a s s i s t me i n preparing questionnaires i f you could indicate on the student selection sheet which students, i f any, come from families with only one parent presently in the home. Thank You.

Cite

Citation Scheme:

    

Usage Statistics

Country Views Downloads
China 7 24
United States 4 1
Japan 4 0
City Views Downloads
Beijing 7 0
Tokyo 4 0
Unknown 3 5
Ashburn 1 0

{[{ mDataHeader[type] }]} {[{ month[type] }]} {[{ tData[type] }]}

Share

Share to:

Comment

Related Items