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ERIC Number: EJ761636
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Aug
Pages: 35
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-0034-527X
On Saying It Right (Write): "Fix-Its" in the Foundations of Learning to Write
Dyson, Anne Haas
Research in the Teaching of English, v41 n1 p8-42 Aug 2006
The basics of child writing, as traditionally conceived, involve "neutral" conventions for organizing and encoding language. This "basic" notion of a solid foundation for child writing is itself situated in a fluid world of cultural and linguistic diversity and rapidly changing literacy practices. In this paper, I aim to theorize and problematize the basics, drawing on an ethnographic study of child writing in a regulated (i.e., test-monitored) urban school. I focused on a prime site for teaching and monitoring the basics--talk about "fix-its" or problems in a text in a first grade classroom. I asked about the nature of teacher- and child-identified fix-its and, in the process, I considered the evaluative discourse contextualizing textual features as errors and the ideologies of (or values and beliefs about) language permeating that discourse. The official fix-its heightened attention to the surface manifestations of language--to how a proper written voice should sound. The children's responses to these official fix-its revealed the homogenized child voice implicit in the basics. Moreover, their own fix-it concerns suggested the social relations, identity formations, and communicative practices central to--even foundational for--their uses of (and for) writing. (Contains 2 figures and 5 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Iowa Tests of Basic Skills