Multiple Worlds of Child Writers: Friends Learning to Write

Dyson, Anne Haas

Based on a two-year study of K-3 students, this book provides an important missing link in the study of emergent literacy: the peer group and the classroom contexts that surround it. Most works on children’s writing stress that children must “disembed” or “decontextualize” their written texts from dependency on other symbolic media and other people. Dyson, however, shows that to develop as writers, children’s text must become progressively more embedded in the social, affective, and intellectual parts of their lives. The book also emphasizes the nature of the classroom rather than the home as a distinctive context for early literacy growth. Moreover, the classroom is an urban one that includes children from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds.