Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Series: Language and Literacy Series
What are the real “basics” of writing, how should they be taught, and what do they look like in children’s worlds? In her new book, Anne Haas Dyson shows how highly scripted writing curricula and regimented class routines work against young children’s natural social learning processes. Readers will have a front-row seat in Mrs. Bee’s kindergarten and Mrs. Kay’s 1st-grade class, where these dedicated teachers taught writing basics in schools serving predominately low-income children of color. The children, it turns out, had their own expectations for one another’s actions during writing time. Driven by desires for companionship and meaning, they used available linguistic and multimodal resources to construct their shared lives. In so doing, they stretch, enrich, and ultimately transform our own understandings of the basics.
ReWRITING the Basics goes beyond critiquing traditional writing basics to place them in the linguistic diversity and multimodal texts of children’s everyday worlds. This engaging work:
Anne Haas Dyson is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Social Worlds of Children Learning to Write in an Urban Primary School, Writing Superheroes, The Brothers and Sisters Learn to Write, and with Celia Genishi, Children, Language, and Literacy: Diverse Learners in Diverse Times.
”The author shows how teachers can continue meeting required standards while using in-depth understanding of children’s lives—honoring children’s experiences and engaging them in a whole new way.”
“Offers new ways of thinking about writing time and the importance of play, talk, and social relationships in children’s literacy learning.”
—Barbara Comber, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
2015 NCTE David H. Russell Research Award