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Constructing literacy: A biographical study of Joel's preschool literacy development

Carla S Ketner, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Early literacy development has been the subject of considerable research, both qualitative and quantitative, from many theoretical perspectives. This study looked at language and literacy development from the social constructionist and critical theory perspectives. The purpose of this biographical study was to describe and interpret one preschooler's transactions with oral and written language from his birth through his fifth birthday. Data in the form of artifacts and observational anecdotes were collected by the researcher, the subject's mother, on an on-going, constant basis over the length of the study. The subject's preschool teacher, day care providers, and father were also interviewed for their perceptions of his literacy-related behaviors and attitudes. ^ The narrative was written as an interpretive biography, describing, and interpreting the young child's literacy use and learning and identifying epiphanies, or significant moments in his development. Five such epiphanies were identified. They relate to the purposefulness, playfulness, and social nature of his literacy development. Other epiphanies recognized the facts that literacy, for this child, was empowering and also fundamental to his individuality. ^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Ketner, Carla S, "Constructing literacy: A biographical study of Joel's preschool literacy development" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055279.