Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs


Jolene Reed

Publication Date



This participant observation research study explored relationships between the role of guided reading and in-school writing of three proficient first-grade literacy learners during the first eight months of the 2007-08 school-year. Portraits of each student as a literacy learner were developed through case studies. Those individual case studies were then analyzed for themes in a cross-case analysis. Data were collected regarding text encountered during the guided reading sessions that occurred in the classroom and also in the form of writing artifacts produced by the three students during the writing workshop portion of their school day. Additional data collected included student interviews (both formal and informal), and formal interviews with parents/guardians of the three participants. Three areas of specific interest included student views of what constituted a written composition, student development of orthography, and the student use of literary language. Findings regarding the student view of what constituted a written composition included student experimentation with various forms of writing including a listing of facts on a given topic and personal narratives. Over the course of the study, all students developed intrinsic reasons for writing that were unique to the individual student. Regarding orthography, each student entered first-grade having already developed many complex understandings of English orthography. The specific spelling patterns and specific words negotiated by each of the three students varied according to the individual student. The final area of observation was the student use of literary language. All three students incorporated elements of literary language into their personal writing prior to the time that same literary language was encountered by them in their guided reading lessons. Implications included that classrooms need to strike a balance between the structuring of time for literacy instruction and freedom given to students regarding topics of interest and genre of writing. Also, understanding and valuing the various journeys traveled by literacy learners needs to become a focus of professional development provided to classroom teachers.


participant observation, guided reading, writing, case study, portraiture, orthography, literary language

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Pence, Penny

Second Committee Member

Calhoon, Anne

Third Committee Member

Gutierrez-Gomez, Cathy