Conceptualizations Underlying Emergent Readers' Story Writing

CIERA Report #2-015

Adriana G. Bus, Anna Both-de Vries, and Marga de Jong
Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Elizabeth Sulzby
University of Michigan

Willemieke de Jong
Prins Maurits School, Katwijk, The Netherlands

Ellie de Jong
Dr. de Visser School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

CIERA Inquiry 2: Home and School
What roles do various types of knowledge play when children are instructed to compose written stories?

Two series of case studies were carried out following a multiple base-line design across individuals. The first series of eight studies included 4- to 5-year-old Dutch kindergarten children, and the second series examined 5- to 6-year-olds. Each child wrote approximately 16 stories in the natural environment of their classroom over a two-month period. During the last month of the experiment the a teacher or researcher promoted invented spelling by modeling this strategy for the children prior to their second series of writing sessions. The 2 series of case studies tested how children harmonized knowledge and understandings, represented by early-developing forms of writing such as random letter strings or pseudo-cursive scribbles, with an emerging understanding that letters represent sounds. Even when children understood the alphabetic principle and adults promoted the use of letter-sound rules to represent their story, children were not inclined simply to drop early-developing forms such as pseudo-cursive scribble or random letter strings. They often produced combinations of early forms and invented spelling. Invented spelling gradually increased over earlier forms, but only among a group of older kindergartners.

Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

November 5, 2001

University of Michigan School of Education

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