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Citation:Korat, O., & Levin, I. (2001). Maternal beliefs, mother-child interaction, and childÕs literacy: Comparison of independent and collaborative text writing between two social groups. Applied Developmental Psychology, 22(2001), 397-420.

Researchers in this study investigate the nature of mother-child collaborative text writing, maternal pedagogical beliefs, and children's independent text writing in two socioeconomic (SES) groups. Findings suggested several correlations: mother-child interaction, maternal beliefs, and child's development. The higher the independent level of the child, the higher the child's autonomy in the mother-child writing interaction, especially in the writing in the LSES (low socioeconomic status) group. The higher the child's independent text level, the more the mother enabled the child to act autonomously in the interaction. HSES mothers who expressed negative beliefs about their children as learners tended to have children with lower levels of independent text writing. A total of 40 second-graders (20 boy and 20 girls) and their mothers were recruited from four classes located in two urban neighborhoods in the greater area of Tel Aviv, Israel, one with an low SES (LSES) and the other with a middle-high SES (HSES) population. Data were collected in four sessions. In the first session the child independently wrote a birthday party invitation and party shopping list; in the second, mothers wrote jointly with their child; in the third, mothersÕ beliefs were collected through interviews; and in the fourth, self-report questionnaires regarding demographic and family literacy data were collected from the mothers in personal interviews. Researchers suggest three specific directions for future research: 1) future researchers should continue to explore parental beliefs using interviews because they enable a deeper understanding of "authentic" parental belief systems than do questionnaires; 2) research is needed that can untangle the question why LSES mothers do not encourage as much child autonomy as do HSES mothers. This study provides support for mothers helping their children become more independent at home. Researchers caution that the narrow scope of the study limits the generalizability of the findings. A more detailed examination of the reasons behind the SES differences and a more thorough investigation is needed.

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