Contexts, Genres, and Imagination: "An Examination of the Idiosyncratic Writing Performances of Three Elementary Children within Multiple Contexts of Writing Instruction"

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Writing instruction, Childrens literature, Childrens writing, Children, Writing, Writing processes, Writing teachers, Theater, English instruction


A year-long descriptive and interpretive study was initiated in one elementary classroom to understand further children's writing in the context of school. A two-level case study was conducted to examine both the complex writing performances of three students in a 2nd-3rd grade class and the instructional strategies of their teacher, focusing on the interplay between the children's strategy use and the teacher's instruction. Observations of and interviews with the children revealed the features of each child's enacted textual production, attention to textual features, and rhetorical knowledge. Observations of and interviews with the teacher revealed her attention to aesthetics and pragmatics and her positioning of herself as a writing authority. Results indicate that the focus students exhibited idiosyncratic strategies for creating text and attended to multiple aspects within each writing event including the visual features of their textual products, the reactions of peers and the teacher, and the characteristics of various genres. Throughout all writing opportunities, the children's personal experiences guided their knowledge of genre as well as their relationships in and around texts. This study contributes to theories of writing development by recasting children's writing as performance within the differing instructional contexts designed to support it.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Research in the Teaching of English, v. 37, issue 3, p. 329-379