Writing childhoods under construction: Re-visioning 'copying' in early childhood

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This article problematizes a hegemonic vision of children and writing, one undergirded by an individualistic ideology; this ideology informs a curricular emphasis both on mastering 'basic' skills and on crafting for self expression. To this end, the article focuses on the slippery phenomenon of 'copying.' It begins with a consideration of two previous studies of 'copying,' illustrating how visions of children, of composing, and of copying itself change with theoretical tools, methodological decisions, and responses to changing educational discourse. It then turns to the current study, which draws on data collected in two classrooms in low-income urban neighborhoods, a kindergarten and a first grade. Data analysis revealed how copying mediated relationships. Collegiality, textual choreography, complementary authorial roles, and co-constructed dramas were all on display. The article thus illustrates, not the composing of individual selves, but the complex participatory dynamics by which writing becomes relevant to small children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-31
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Childhood cultures
  • Copying
  • Individualism
  • Writing development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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