Title

Argumentative writing in preadolescents: The role of verbal reasoning

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Child Language Teaching and Therapy

ISSN

0265-6590

Volume

26

Issue

3

DOI

10.1177/0265659009349979

First Page

238

Last Page

248

Publication Date

5-27-2010

Abstract

Argumentative writing is a challenging communication task that calls upon sophisticated cognitive and linguistic abilities. Pre-adolescents (n = 80; mean age = 11;10; range = 10;6—13:5) were asked to write an argumentative essay on the controversial topic of training animals to perform in circuses. Additionally, they were asked to solve a set of verbal reasoning problems. Children whose essays reflected a more flexible attitude toward the controversy (Conditional subgroup) outperformed their peers whose attitude was more rigid (Absolute subgroup) on all key measures: Verbal Analogical Reasoning, Total Number of Reasons, and Mean Length of Utterance in Words. Implications for instruction and intervention with pre-adolescents are discussed.