The literate lexicon in narrative and expository writing: A developmental study of children and adolescents
Three types of literate words, including abstract nouns (freedom, challenge), mental state verbs (assume, explain), and derivatives (relationship, respectful), were examined in narrative and expository writing in typically developing children and adolescents. It was predicted that older students would use literate words more frequently than younger students, and that literate words would occur more frequently in expository writing than in narrative writing. One hundred and twenty typically developing children and adolescents including forty 5th graders, forty 8th graders, and forty 11th graders wrote one narrative and one expository essay at school. The results showed that genre had a substantial impact on the use of literate words in the writing of school-age children and adolescents. except metalinguistic verbs. Moreover, literate words were used significantly more often in expository than in narrative text, except derived adjectives. Additionally, metalinguistic verbs occurred more often in narrative writing than expository writing; however, the difference was not statistically significant. Age-related increases occurred in the use of abstract nouns, derived nominals, early/late developing metacognitive verbs and late developing metalinguistic verbs in narrative writing. Age-related increases also occurred in the use of derived adjectives, and late developing metacognitive and metalinguistic verbs in expository writing. The present study adds to the knowledge base concerning the development of literate word use in narrative and expository writing in typically developing children and adolescents.