Enhancing and Displacing Literacy Practices: Examining Student Publishing in a Fifth Grade Writer’s Workshop

Kimberly Lenters


Publication of student work has been considered a mainstay of the writer’s workshop since the early days of the ‘children as authors’ movement (Graves, 1983). However, this philosophy, which stipulates students should share their work with peers, may not be one that always benefits students.  This case study utilizes the concept of literacy-in-action (Brandt & Clinton, 2002), to look at the manner in which one local rendition of writer’s workshop both enhanced and displaced student literacy practices.  The guiding question asks: How are focal students, Sara, Ally and Nigel, engaging in the practice of publication of their writing and how are those publications, as literacy objects, mediating their practice of literacy in the writer’s workshop? The examination of writer’s workshop first presents the way publication of student writing found its way into Sara and Nigel’s classroom and the kinds of investments accumulated in it as it made its way into their practice of classroom writing.  It then presents the agentful activity engaged in by these students in their classroom literacy practice of writing for publication.  Through the analysis, the ways an assessment-focused writer’s workshop worked to enhance and displace individual student’s literacy practices are brought out.


Writing; Writer's Workshop; Literacy Practices; Sociocultural Perpsectives

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20360/G2X30W