“We're Playing Sisters, on Paper!”: children composing on graphic playgrounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I draw on two childhood ethnographies to ask basic questions about the foundation of child writing. The first question is, where does writing come from in young children's lives? Answering this question will lead us to childhood play as the foundation of writing. The second question is, how do educators negotiate an inclusive, playful classroom culture in racially divisive and neoliberal times? This question will lead to a critical consideration of forming an inclusive culture in a racially and culturally diverse classroom. In this time of uniform, mandated curricula, rampant in the United States and elsewhere, and of the dismissive attitude towards play and towards childhood diversity (e.g., in race, culture and socioeconomic class), it is worth revisiting basic questions about the beginnings of writing in childhoods. The questions are relevant whether a child is writing on paper, screen, slate, or sand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • classroom culture
  • early childhood
  • inclusion
  • literacy
  • play
  • writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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