The use of journals in children's writing development

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Platt, David Ian
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1991
The purpose of this study is to analyze the content of dialogue journals of selected third grade students in order to discover the predominant themes in their writing. A second purpose is to explore how a teacher used the information gained from journals with her students to make curriculum decisions in her classroom. Although many reasons have been given for using journals in school writing programs, few studies have examined the role and impact of dialogue journals in primary grade classrooms. It is hoped that this study will add to the knowlege concerning dialogue journals in primary grades. This study is rooted in the desire to explore and explain what it means for a teacher to enter into a dialogue through journal writing with his or her students. It is hoped that this investigation will not only provide new insights into this relationship but also describe what grade three students and their teacher write about in the process of utilizing a journal. Six grade three students and thier teacher were involved in this study. Student journal entries, the teacher responses to the students' journal entries, and subsequent teacher interviews were all subjected to content analysis. The principal finding of this study was that dialogue journals not only provided a safe and secure environment in which children could express their ideas and knowledge, but it also became an important curriculum tool where specific writing needs and/or instruction based on interest could be met cooperatively. All student wrote on a variety of topics, regardless of their writing ability, and the teacher always responded in a positive manner. This study may provide added awareness of the possibilities of utilizing dialogue journal writing for cooperative curriculum planning. If teachers provide opportunities for students to become partners in curriculum planning, based on their needs, perhaps schools may become more personally fulfilling for both teachers and students.
xii, 120 leaves : chart, plan ; 28 cm.
Children -- Writing. , Dissertations, Academic