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MSU leads effort to boost preschoolers writing skills

January 9, 2018

Working with preschool classrooms in Flint, Michigan, and Atlanta, a Michigan State University scholar is leading a federally funded initiative to improve young students’ writing skills.

The $1.5 million initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, comes as a vast majority of older students are performing at only a basic level in writing, according to national test results in grades 8 and 12. And young children who begin school with writing difficulties tend to remain poor writers throughout their academic careers, said Hope Gerde, lead investigator on the project.

Previous research by Gerde and others found that young students are experiencing poor instruction in literacy and writing.

“Because writing skills have their genesis in early childhood, there’s a clear need to improve the quality of writing environments and instructional practices serving young children, particularly those children living in poverty,” said Gerde, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.