Beyond Print: Journeying Beyond the Page to Uncover the Social Influences on the Meaning of Pre-Kindergarten Children's Writing
Kissel, Brian T., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Hansen, Jane, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wilson, Eleanor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Deutsch, Nancy, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Hoffman, Diane, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
To understand pre-kindergarten children's writing, and the social conditions that influence its meaning, I conducted a qualitative study to address the following questions:
1. What are the settings in which social interactions occur in one prekindergarten classroom during writing instruction?
2. In what ways, if any, do these social interactions influence the children's writing processes?
3. In what ways, if any, are these social influences manifested in the written products of the pre-kindergarten children?
This study builds on research that addresses writing from a socio-cultural perspective, wherein writing is situated within a community of students.
To collect my data, I made 34 visits to one pre-kindergarten classroom over a four month period of time to observe the children before, during, and after the daily block of time during which they wrote. My intent was to understand the social interactions that influenced them as writers and that influenced their written products. I interviewed students on every observation day to ascertain the meanings of their writings. On three occasions, I formally interviewed the teacher. To answer the above questions, I analyzed the children's written documents, my field notes of my observations, and my interview transcripts.
According to my results, the settings in which social interactions occurred in the classroom were: The read-aloud experiences, the teacher's writing demonstrations, and the tables at which the children wrote. Social interactions in these three settings influenced the decisions the children made when writing. Through these social settings the children gleaned writing ideas, learned how to create specific symbols in writing, developed knowledge of letters and their corresponding sounds, and enhanced their notions of genre structure.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
pre-kindergarten, social influences, writing
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