Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts

Degree Name

Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media

First Advisor

Star Vanguri, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Eric Mason, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Juliette Kitchens, Ph.D.


writing curriculum, elementary education, early childhood education, composition theory, cognitive process writing, executive functioning


The Common Core State Standards initiative was created to unify current learning standards and ensure that all students were prepared for graduation across the United States (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2021). Despite this initiative, national assessment data has shown that most students do not perform to grade level expectations in writing (Costa et al., 2020; NAEP, 2011). Scholarship has demonstrated that there is a deficit of research in primary grade writing instruction, and a lack of universal direction in how to teach students to meet writing standards (Graham & Harris, 2005; Korth et al., 2017). While it has been argued that young children are unable to participate in the cognitive process model of writing (Flower & Hayes, 1981), other scholarship suggests that these students can execute writing tasks if they are given appropriate strategies and routines that support executive functioning abilities (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1982; Graham & Harris, 2005). Through a synthesis of scholarship based in composition theory and primary education, this thesis proposes a nine-week, executive functioning-based curriculum for implementing Common Core writing standards in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. This thesis provides a new perspective on teaching writing, advocates for building executive functioning skills through the composing process and demonstrates how a unified curriculum created through research in best practices can help prepare students for effectively meeting Common Core writing standards.