The Case of the Singing Scientist:A Performance Perspective on the “Stages” of School Literacy

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This article, based on a year-long project in an urban K/1 classroom offers a case study of a young child who used school writing activities to perform rather than simply to communicate. A performer differs from a mere communicator in both the nature of language produced and in the kind of stance taken toward an audience. Although the child's language resources contributed to his success with written language, they did not always fit comfortably into the “writing workshop” used in his classroom; in fact, his assumptions about written language and texts conflicted in revealing ways with those undergirding a workshop approach. Thus, the study helps make explicit many unexamined assumptions of current written language pedagogies, particularly those involving the nature of literary sense, the relationship between writers’ “audience” and their “helpers,” and most important, the links between oral performance, literacy pedagogy, and the use of the explicit, analytic language valued in school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-47
Number of pages45
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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