Date Approved

6-29-2000

Embargo Period

6-20-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Teaching

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Robinson, Randall

Subject(s)

Fourth grade (Education); Letter writing; Pen pals

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

This study was conducted with a group of fourth grade elementary school students in a rural area of southern New Jersey to determine whether engaging in a pen pal program would affect their attitudes toward letter writing, as determined by the scores on a writing questionnaire. The sample was a group of 50 students, consisting of 28 boys and 22 girls, of which 14 percent were black and 86 percent were white. The experimental group exchanged letters with pen pals for a period of eight weeks, while the control group did not. Language instruction for both groups remained the same. The students were administered a writing questionnaire prior to the beginning of the study and at the conclusion. The summed scores were statistically analyzed using a t-test for non-independent sample, and indicated no significant difference between scores. Limitations of the study include the length of time the study was conducted, and questionable validity of the measuring instrument. While the data did not support the hypothesis, review of the literature suggests that engaging in a pen pal program promotes writing proficiency and motivates students to write.

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