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ERIC Number: EJ1144791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1937-0814
Co-Characters in an Immigration Story: Sixth-Grade Students' Narrative Interpretations of Literature and Life
Lewis, Mark A.
Middle Grades Research Journal, v9 n1 p19-34 2014
In the current schooling climate, literary competence is increasingly viewed as students' ability to read fiction and nonfiction texts, and then articulate their comprehension of surface-text features (e.g., plot, character, setting, and conflict) through structured settings, such as standardized tests. As a way to argue against the privileging of this perspective, literary experiences of 5 sixth-grade students--4 of whom were children of recent immigrants--are examined within a school-based book club. These students were able to articulate their literary competence through personal storytelling by wearing the mantle of a "co-character," which afforded them an opportunity to set their own stories alongside the stories of fictional characters. Through this discursive role, these students implemented an evocative framework for demonstrating their literary competence. This framework asks young readers to comprehend the underlying feelings of characters that provoke and instigate those characters' actions. These students illustrated that understanding the affective sensibilities of fictional characters created a complex, multifaceted form of literary competence beyond simple comprehension of surface-text features. Space needs to be created within middle school classrooms for students to use affective, personal storytelling as a way to demonstrate literary competence, and expand socially just opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse students within literacy curricula.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A