Whistle for Willie, Lost Puppies, and Cartoon Dogs: The Sociocultural Dimensions of Young Children's Composing

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No greater challenge currently faces the schools than articulating what a literacy curriculum for sociocultural diversity might look like. And yet the literature on young school children's composing has dealt only peripherally with this issue. In this theoretical essay, the author argues that, even for young children, composing of both oral and written texts (i.e., planning, responding, revising) is a distinctly sociocultural process that involves making decisions, conscious or otherwise, about how one figures into the social world at any one point in time. Drawing on data from an ethnographic project in an urban school, she allows young children's composing processes sociocultural depth and breadth by highlighting variation in the kind of oral and written language genres a child uses, in the kinds of discourse traditions a child draws upon, and in the kind of relationships a child author enacts with others. The author concludes with a discussion of the implications of a sociocultural perspective on young children's composing for literacy teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-462
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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