Young children's explorations of written language during free choice
AuthorLaird, Julie Anne, 1965-
AdvisorShort, Kathy G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine my belief that allowing young children time for free choice engagements and play is not only appropriate but necessary for their development of written literacy. This teacher research study took place in my kindergarten classroom. Data was collected during a daily free choice time when students had access to virtually all materials in the classroom and were responsible for their own engagement decisions. The primary data consists of field notes of my observations while students were involved in free choice engagements, a checklist of their engagements, and artifacts of the written literacy that students engaged in. The data analysis led to the development of a description of the types, functions, and contexts for how written language is integrated into the free choice engagements of the kindergarten students in my class. This analysis is from data on all the children in my classroom. Case studies offered a portrayal of three individual students' explorations of written language during free choice. The case studies give background information about each child, then describe the child as a player, and finally the child's literacy knowledge is described. This study has allowed me to become more acutely aware of what was happening during free choice time in my classroom. Throughout this dissertation I have contended that children come to school with a great deal of knowledge about literacy, and teachers need to value the literacy knowledge that children already have. The same must hold true for play. No doubt children have learned to play long before they come to school. It is the teacher's responsibility to close the gap between the two environments. Teachers need to respect each child's literacy strengths and motivations, and continue to offer invitations for engagements in many functional literacy engagements. I am confident that students will engage in written literacy when they are ready and see the engagements as meaningful and functional in their own lives.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture