Date of Award

Fall 1996

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Jeff B. Linn

Second Advisor

Luther E. Smith

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


Research has shown that children come to school with preexisting knowledge about writing. It is therefore essential for teachers to observe their students to learn what knowledge they already possess and to plan their lessons accordingly. The author asks whether there are differences between how boys and girls perceive the writing process, whether there are differences between the characteristics of boys’ and girls’ writing samples and episodes, and whether there are differences between boys’ and girls’ knowledge of production rules in writing. A subject pool of 34 children were selected and were given two interviews in which they completed writing tasks and answered questions from the author. The results of these interviews were collected and analyzed by type of response given. The author found that while many children just beginning school do not yet have a clear definition of writing, more girls than boys seem to have a closer perception of what writing is. Similarly, girls were seemingly more perceptive to the purposes of writing, though a majority of both perceived it as relatively easy. Lastly, the writing tests suggest that girls may obtain knowledge of writing’s production rules sooner than boys. The author argues that further research is needed to verify their findings and to better understand the role of families and teachers in a child’s writing development.