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What encourages elementary students to participate in writing activities?

1 May 1998


Abstract· The purpose of this qualitative study was to answer this research question: What tends to encourage elementary students to actively participate in writing activities. My research addressing this question was based on the work of Knudson, Graves, Hil1ocks, and others who are studying student attitudes towards writing and some possible tactics to motivate students to want to write. This study took place in a suburban elementary school twenty miles west of Portland, Oregon.The participants were fourth and fifth grade students. Information was gathered during observations of writing lessons, interviews, and surveys. In order to protect the participants' rights to privacy and anonymity I have used pseudonyms for all participants in this study. After conducting my observations, interviews and surveys, I noticed that students seemed to like to write if their own experiences were part of the writing assignment. They also wrote more and the quality of writing was better. This seems to support the research of Knudson (1995) that students win participate in writing activities and have a more positive attitude if they are able to put the assignment into a meaningful context. Writing is one of the most important subjects taught in school. Students need to know how to write to be successful both in school and in whatever life path they choose. As educators, it is imperative that we utilize techniques that improve ~ting abilities and attitudes.


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