Negotiating among Multiple Worlds: The Space/Time Dimensions of Young Children's Composing

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This article discusses the developmental sense of children's seemingly disorganized texts. It is based on a two-year study of eight primary-grade children attending an urban magnet school. The study focused on interrelationships between the children's creation of written, imaginative worlds and their use of other symbolic media (drawing and talk) and other people (particularly peers). Collected data included the children's drawn and written products, audiotapes of their talk, and handwritten observations. A series of data analyses revealed the multiple worlds within which the children worked: the imaginary worlds formed from varied media, the ongoing peer social world, and the wider experienced world. Tensions among these worlds, with their different space/time dimensions, were evident in both the children's talk and their texts (e.g., shifts of time frames and points of view). The author thus argues that children's developmental challenge is not simply to create a unified, "disembedded" text world but to differentiate and coordinate multiple worlds. Writing Example 1 Once there was a cowboy. I hated the cowboy a lot. Do You Like cowboy's? but I like YOu alot. Sometimes I Like The cowboy. TueSdaYs I LiKe The cowboy. The End. [text accompanying a drawing of a cowboy] Writing Example 2 Once there was a girl. I like the girl. I Hate the Girls Brother a Lot. The End [text accompanying a drawing of a crying little boy and a frowning girl]
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-390
Number of pages36
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988


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