The Role of Oral Language in Early Writing Processes

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Participant observation was used to examine the role of oral language in early writing. Data collection took place daily over a three-month period in a kindergarten classroom. The researcher set up a writing center in which children were asked simply to write, according to their own definition of writing. She observed and interacted with the children to gain insight into their perceptions of writing and their reasoning about writing behaviors, focusing particularly on five children selected as case studies. Data consisted of audiotaped recordings of the children's talk at the center, written products, observational notes, and interviews with the children and their parents. Findings included analyses of children's talk while writing and hypotheses regarding each child's knowledge of the relationship between talk and writing. On the basis of these findings, developmental inferences were made regarding how children use speech to make sense of written language: initially talk is used to invest written graphics with meaning; eventually talk is viewed as the substance of written language.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes


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