Exploring Second Grade Curriculum to Support Writing Growth and Development

The study examined the effects of either the Being a Writer (BAW) or Language for Writing program on
grade 2 students’ writing skills and attitudes about writing. The study took place in two elementary
schools in a Colorado school district. In the 2016–2017 school year, five grade 2 teachers in one elementary
school instructed 72 students using Being a Writer while four grade 2 teachers in another elementary school
instructed 67 students using Language for Writing. All the teachers in the study received professional
development and coaching during the year. Student writing samples were collected in the fall and spring
using prompts from the BAW Grade 2 Assessment Resource Book. In addition, a survey on writing attitudes
was administered to students by their teachers in the fall and spring.

The authors report that students in the Being a Writer program demonstrated more growth in writing skills
from fall to spring compared to students in the Language for Writing program. These skills were: ideas,
organization, style/fluency, and language usage. The authors do not indicate if the differences over time
were statistically significant.

Regarding student attitudes about writing, those who were instructed in Language for Writing demonstrated a decrease in positive attitudes about writing during the year (i.e., feeling that they were “good
writers” and enjoying writing). Students who were instructed in Being a Writer demonstrated an increase
in these attitudes during the same period. Again, the authors do not indicate if these differences were
statistically significant.

1 Both schools in the study had implemented Language for Writing school-wide during the 2012–2013 and 2014–2015 school years.
Beginning with the 2015–2016 school year, one school piloted the Being a Writer program.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, 2015) 114th Congress, S 1117.
U.S. Department of Education (2016). Non-Regulatory Guidance: Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments.
Washington, DC. Accessed at: