The impact of a writing programme on reading acquisition of at-risk first grade children


  • Liliana Salvador
  • Margarida Alves Martins


Our aim was to assess the impact of a writing programme on the reading acquisition of first graders considered at-risk of developing reading difficulties. Eighteen children from six classrooms of three primary schools attended this programme. Their results on literacy tests at the end of the first trimester were very low when compared to those of the remaining 91 children attending the same classrooms. This programme, based on a socio-constructive approach, had 12 sessions. In each session, children were asked to discuss the writing of words and sentences until they reached an agreement. The adult's role was to guide and question children along their process of discovery and reflection. The dynamics that occurred during the sessions and the adult’s help (scaffolding) were characterized. At the end of the programme, children who underwent the intervention reached similar reading results as the remaining children in the classrooms.


Reading, learning, writing programme, scaffolding


Adams, M. (1998). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Alves Martins, M., Albuquerque, A., Salvador, L., & Silva, C. (2013). The impact of invented spelling on early spelling and reading. Journal of Writing Research, 5(2), 215-237. DOI:

Alves Martins, M., & Quintas Mendes, A. (1987). Evolução das conceptualizações infantis sobre a escrita. Análise Psicológica, 5(4), 499-508.

Alves Martins, M., Salvador, L., Albuquerque, A., & Silva, C. (2016). Invented spelling activities in small groups and early spelling and reading. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 36 (4) 738-752. DOI:

Alves Martins, M., Salvador, L., Albuquerque, A., & Montanero, M. (2017). "Otro niño lo escribió así”. Ayuda educativa y resultados de actividades de escritura inventada. Revista de Educación, 377, 161-183. DOI:

Alves Martins, M., & Silva, C. (2006). The impact of invented spelling on phonemic awareness. Learning and Instruction, 16(1), 41-56. DOI:

Ball, E., & Blachman, B. (1988). Phoneme segmentation training: Effect on reading readiness. Annals of Dyslexia, 38, 203-225. DOI:

Bosman, A., & Van Orden, G. (1997). Why spelling is more difficult than reading. In C. Perfetti, L. Rieben, & M. Fayol, (eds.), Learning to spell: Research, theory, and practice across languages (pp.173-194). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate.

Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. (1983). Categorizing sounds and learning to read: A causal connection. Nature, 30, 419-421.

Chomsky, C. (1971). Write first, read later. Childhood Education, 47(6), 296-299. DOI:

Chomsky C. (1979). Approaching reading through invented spelling. In L.B. Resnick & P. A. Weaver (eds.), Theory and practice of early reading (Vol.2), (pp. 43–65). Hillside, NJ: Erlbaum.

Clarke, L. K. (1988). Invented versus traditional spelling in first graders' writings: Effects on learning to spell and read. Research in the Teaching of English, 22, 281-309.

Cole, A. (2006). Scaffolding beginning readers: Micro and macro cues teachers use during student oral reading. The Reading Teacher, 59(5), 450-459. DOI:

Coll, C., Onrubia J., & Mauri, T. (2008). Ayudar a aprender en contextos educativos: el ejercicio de la influencia educativa y el análisis de la enseñanza. Revista de Educación, 346, 33-70.

Cubero, R. (2005). Perspectivas constructivistas. La intersección entre el significado, la interacción y el discurso. Barcelona: Graó.

Ferreiro, E. (1988). L’écriture avant la lettre. In H. Sinclair (Ed.), La production des notations chez le jeune enfant (pp.18-69). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Ferreriro, E. (1994). Diversidad y proceso de alfabetización: De la celebración a la toma de conciencia, Lectura y Vida, 15(3), 5-14.

Ferreiro, E. (2002). Escritura y oralidad: unidades, niveles de análisis y conciencia metalingüística. En Relaciones de (in)dependencia entre oralidad y escritura (pp. 151-171). Barcelona: Gedisa.

Ferreiro, E., & Teberosky, A. (1979). Los sistemas de escritura en el desarrollo del niño. Mexico: Siglo XXI.

Frith, U. (1985). Beneath the surface of developmental dyslexia. In K. E. Patterson, J. C. Marshall & M. Coltheart (eds.), Surface dyslexia: Neuropsychological and cognitive studies of phonological reading (pp. 301-330). London: Earlbaum.

Hatcher, P., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. (2004). Explicit phonological training combined with reading instruction helps young children at risk of reading failure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 338-358.

Lombardino, L., Bedford, T., Fortier, C., Carter, J., & Brandi, J. (1997). Invented spelling: developmental patterns in kindergarten children and guidelines for early literacy intervention. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 28, 333-343.

Lundberg, I. (2002). The child's route into reading and what can go wrong. Dyslexia, 8(1), 1-13. DOI:

Ouellette, G., & Sénéchal, M. (2008). Pathways to literacy: A study of invented spelling and its role in learning to read. Child Development, 79 (4), 899-913. DOI:

Pentimonti, J., & Justice, L. (2010). Teachers use of scaffolding strategies during read alouds in the preschool classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37, 241-248. DOI:

Pol, J., Volman, M., & Beishuizen, J. (2010). Scaffolding in teacher-student interaction: A decade of research. Educational Psychology Review, 22, 271-296. DOI:

Rieben, L., Ntamakiliro, L., Gonthier, B, & Fayol, M. (2005). Effects of various early writing practices on reading and spelling. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9(2), 145-166. DOI:

Sénéchal, M., Ouellette, G., Pagan, S., & Lever, R. (2012). The role of invented spelling on learning to read in low-phoneme awareness kindergartners: A randomized-control-trial study. Reading and Writing, 25, 917–934. DOI:

Seymour, P., Aro, M., & Erskine, J. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94(2), 143-174. DOI:

Sim-Sim, I. (2006). Avaliação da linguagem oral: Um contributo para o conhecimento do desenvolvimento linguístico das crianças portuguesas. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

Sucena, A., & Castro, S. (2011). ALEPE: Avaliação da leitura em Português Europeu. Lisboa: Cegoc.

Teberosky, A. (1982). Construcción de la escritura a través de la interacción grupal. En E. Ferreiro & M. Gómez Palacio (eds.), Nuevas perspectivas en los procesos de lectura y escritura (pp. 155-178). México: Siglo XXI.

Tolchinsky, L. (2004). Childhood conceptions of literacy. In, T. Nunes & P. Bryant (eds.), Handbook of children’s literacy (pp. 11-29). Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Tolchinsky, L (2016). From text to language and back: The emergency of written language. In Ch. A. MacArthur, S.Graham & J. Fitzgerald, (eds.), Handbook of Writing Research 2nd edition (pp. 144-159). New York: Guilford Press.

Treiman, R. (1993). Beginning to spell: A study of first-grade children. New York: Oxford University Press.

Vernon, S., & Ferreiro, E. (1999). Writing development: A neglected variable in the consideration of phonological awareness. Harvard Educational Review, 69(4), 395-415.

Wood, D., Bruner, J., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89–100. DOI: tb00381.x




Download data is not yet available.