Connections Between Children’s Motivations Toward Writing and Writing Competence


  • Kelli Finney Simon Fraser University
  • Maureen Hoskyn Simon Fraser University


children's writing motivation, children's writing competence, self-concept


This paper explores how young children’s motivation to engage in writing processes aligns with their demonstrated writing competencies. Additionally, it examines connections between children’s self-concept as writers and their writing performance. During group research sessions conducted over the course of four years, three cohorts of 336 children in total, from Kindergarten to Grade 2, completed a prompted narrative writing task and a semi-structured language and writing attitude interview. A research assistant scored the narrative writing samples for quality and connection of ideas, using a six-point holistic scale, while another research assistant recorded children’s interview responses. In general, those children reporting a positive attitude towards writing and a positive self-concept as writers displayed greater competence in writing, as evidenced by higher writing quality scores. This further supports the role that affect plays in motivation and achievement. Interestingly, some children displayed a disconnect between their writing attitude, self-concept and their writing competence, with some children reporting positive attitudes, yet demonstrating low writing competence and others reporting negative attitudes, but demonstrating high writing competence. More in-depth interviews were conducted with three children whose responses showed a disconnect, thereby identifying more nuanced factors in the relationship between attitude and writing competence.

Author Biographies

Kelli Finney, Simon Fraser University

Kelli is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Linguistics. Research interests include language attitudes of young, plurilingual children and development of curriculum materials for indigenous language revitalization.

Maureen Hoskyn, Simon Fraser University

Maureen is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education. She is also the Director of the Centre for Research on Early Child Health and Education (CRECHE). Research interests include individual and developmental relations between executive function and early learning for young children, aged 3 to 8 years.




How to Cite

Finney, K., & Hoskyn, M. (2020). Connections Between Children’s Motivations Toward Writing and Writing Competence. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 18(1), 107–108. Retrieved from



Literacy and Language Arts