Parental writing support and preschoolersí early literacy, language, and fine motor skills

Abstract The current study examines the nature and variability of parentsí aid to preschoolers in the context of a shared writing task, as well as the relations between this support and children's literacy, vocabulary, and fine motor skills. In total, 135 preschool children (72 girls) and their parents (primarily mothers) in an ethnically diverse, middle-income community were observed while writing a semi-structured invitation for a pretend birthday party together. Children's phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, word decoding, vocabulary, and fine motor skills were also assessed. Results revealed that parents provided variable, but generally low-level, support for children's approximation of sound-symbol correspondence in their writing (i.e., graphophonemic support), as well as for their production of letter forms (i.e., print support). Parents frequently accepted errors rather than asking for corrections (i.e., demand for precision). Further analysis of the parentñchild dyads (n=103) who wrote the child's name on the invitation showed that parents provided higher graphophonemic, but not print, support when writing the child's name than other words. Overall parental graphophonemic support was positively linked to children's decoding and fine motor skills, whereas print support and demand for precision were not related to any of the child outcomes. In sum, this study indicates that while parental support for preschoolersí writing may be minimal, it is uniquely linked to key literacy-related outcomes in preschool. “