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ERIC Number: ED432013
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 38
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
When Third Graders Write Letters to College Pen Pals: An Analysis of Genre and Intertextual Understandings.
Jenkins, Carol Brennan; Earle, Alice Altfillisch
A study analyzed 368 letters (179 children letters and 189 adult letters) in order to document children's thinking about the substance of the epistolary genre and to determine the influence of the adult pen pal letters on the children's letters. Students, 19 third graders and 19 college students, were randomly paired as pen pals. Establishing six letter types, a continuum containing these categories was developed: (1) Search and Respond; (2) Question or Parallel; (3) Initiate Conversation; (4) Initiate and Elaborate; (5) Initiate, Elaborate and Share Personal Response; and (6) Acknowledge, Initiate, Elaborate and Share Personal Response. Findings show that young children, without formal instruction, detect and increasingly adopt a number of the distinctive letter features: cordial openings and closings, question and answer patterns, initiation of new topics of conversation, and expressions of gratitude. Conclusions suggest that young students have a great need for strong letter writing models. (Contains 45 references and 5 figures of data, including a continuum of six letter types studied, writing samples, and a scatter plot of two letter writers.) (SC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A