Young Children as Researchers: A Close Look at the Process
When collecting data on how first and second graders go about reading and writing information texts, important features of their work process emerged. In a qualitative study of information writing in the primary grades, twenty-four first and second graders worked in pairs over a period of three weeks to research self-selected topics and to produce written work suitable for classroom publication. Analysis of audiotaped data revealed students successfully engaging in a broad range of reading-related tasks, including comprehension of the information texts, gathering information, and situating their learning through connecting with prior knowledge and personal experience. Analysis of the students’ written text together with the transcripts of their conversation showed that while students’ wrote their next texts their concerns were centered on content, form, and process. In addition, their behavior showed that they were able to engaged in task management by managing the writing situation and the collaborative work situation. Results suggest that common practice in primary grade pedagogy may be underestimating the developmental readiness of these students to comprehend age-appropriate information texts and to produce information writing of their own.
Sylvia Read (United States)
Department of Elementary Education
Utah State University
Sylvia Read taught in the public schools for 13 years before moving into teacher education full time. She received her Ph.D. in 2000 from Utah State University. Her research interests includes the writing processes of young children, the writing instruction practices of teachers K-6, and the analysis and uses of nonfiction children's books.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)