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Strategies for Successful Child-Centered Writing Mary Ellen McCloy July 20, 2002

Successful Child Centered Writing (Kid Writing) Introduction The word kindergarten was created from two German words that mean childrens garden. As a gardener tends to his garden with patience and care, kindergarten intends to treat young children gently, like flowers ready to unfold, so they can develop to their fullest when they are ready. If you hear the word kindergarten, your mind may conjure wonderful images of children frolicking and playing. There is often an element of surprise to hear that these five year olds follow an intensive curriculum. Increased curriculum has been a concern throughout my past 19 years while teaching various grades and classes in kindergarten through seventh grade. I began my career teaching first and second grade for seven years. When returning to work after having my children, I taught basic skills and enrichment classes in grades kindergarten through seven for three years and then have spent the last eight years teaching kindergarten in Tabernacle, New Jersey. Tabernacle, located between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, is located in the Pine Barrens, an environmentally sensitive area with rare plants and species, which limits new development. However, this rural farming town is evolving into an upper middle class town with the addition of a few new upscale developments. Tabernacle has an elementary and middle school with a total population of 1,014 students in grades K-8, with an average class size of 20. Approximately 95% of the students are Caucasian, and less than 5% are Asian, African American, Hispanic, and Native American. In the past two years, the kindergarten classes in Tabernacle have extended the day from two and a halfhours to a four-hour day with hopes of accomplishing more. Within the last year a new writing program has been added to our curriculum. This program is well designed and is based upon the book Kid Writing: a Systematic Approach to Phonics, journals, and Writing workshop (1999, Wright Group Publishing, Inc.) This program requires approximately forty-five minutes to one hour daily and teacher made resources to facilitate the program. According to my literature review, the addition of journal writing in kindergarten would indeed be effective if presented in developmentally appropriate ways. I decided to investigate the success of this new child-centered journal writing program in relation to strategies that can be implemented to keep the program developmentally appropriate so that the childs garden philosophy would prevail in my kindergarten class. Literature Review Strategies for Successful Child-Centered Writing All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten, or so the saying goes. But kindergartens today, with their focus on academic skills instead of social skills, are very different from the kindergarten of a couple of generations ago (Plevyak & Morris, 2002, p.23). There is general agreement among early childhood educators that kindergarten has changed its focus from a place of social development to a place where curriculum is constantly expanding its focus on academics. These increased expectations make kindergarten sound less like a childs garden and more like boot camp (Bracey, 2000, p.71). With the tremendous changes in the past few decades, educators are now faced with the dilemma of how to handle the increased curriculum. This curriculum now includes reading and writing programs for these young

learners. Literacy experts determining The Primary Literacy Standards link reading and writing together and feel that kindergarten students need to write every day (Garcia & Maurer, 1999). The solution is for us to teach children how to read and write, but to do it in a developmentally appropriate way (Hall & Williams, 2000, p.7). Since journal writing has been added to our kindergarten curriculum this year, the desire to teach it in developmentally appropriate ways to encourage success prompted this research. The integration of developmentally appropriate strategies that can be used to assist and involve children in successful childcentered writing will be the focus of this research. Proponents of developmentally appropriate practices for young children embrace the growth of the whole child. When setting up early childhood curriculum, research indicates that educators need to consider more than the intellectual growth of the child. Educators must also regard aspects of the physical and social growth areas when teaching developmentally appropriate practices (Hall & Cunningham, 1997). Consideration of the whole child is one aspect of the intricacy of setting up a successful writing program. The National Association for the Education of Young Children and The International Reading Association state that, Learning to read and write is a complex multifaceted process that requires a wide variety of instructional approaches (1998, p.38). For instructional approaches to be meaningful for a young writer there is great value in integrating talking, reading, writing, and drawing. To facilitate students becoming active members in a classroom of writers, teachers must also integrate the learning of social roles, knowledge, and skills (Dyson, 1993). Early childhood experts agree that educators must also reflect on how young children learn when choosing developmentally appropriate teaching strategies. Children learn best while talking and doing in a social context, in a non-competitive environment where learning is self-selected, meaningful, and interesting (Fisher, 1998, p.3). Authentic learning will occur when the curriculum includes the social world of children. Young children learn best when they are given the opportunity to make connections to their present knowledge or when they can use the stories of their peers (Vasquez, 2001). The use of shared journal writing motivates students interest, effort, and confidence while increasing comprehension because it is meaningful to the students (Montgomery, 2001). In addition to the benefits of peer modeling of journals, students also need an audience for sharing their writing if it is to develop and improve (Sigmon, 2002). Piaget, Vygotsky, Erickson, and other childhood development experts agree with the theories of Fisher and Vasquez reporting that children learn best in a comfortable and social atmosphere where their interests are given deliberate consideration. They also stress the importance of individual variation when developing successful teaching strategies as cited in Bredekamp, Knuth, & Shulman, 1992. The teachers role in a developmentally appropriate kindergarten is to set up a literacy program that will accommodate each childs ability level. Kindergarten children at all different literacy levels must sense that they are making progress if their eagerness and excitement is to sustain them through the hard work of learning to read and write (Hall & Cunningham, 2000, p. 4). In addition to considering each childs ability level, the teachers role is critical in creating a positive and competition free atmosphere. When teachers set up a positive and co-operative community, where each child is appreciated, then students become more comfortable. This increases the students confidence and promotes the value in learning from each other. This will foster a positive atmosphere that will continue when children practice their own reading and writing (Fisher, 1998, p.14). In promoting literacy, research emphasizes the importance of teachers utilizing the numerous teaching opportunities that present themselves throughout the day. Instead of teaching literacy skills in isolation,

skills should be incorporated as teachable moments reveal themselves. When such opportunities arise, it is beneficial to model a writers thinking process and demonstrate multiple purposes for writing (Nel, 2000). Teaching strategies that utilize information that is purposeful to the students can serve as a model for the skills necessary to learn about the relation between oral and written language. Students journals, peer journals, modeled and shared writing, songs, poems, and finger- plays can develop a meaningful connection between letters, sounds, and words. In classrooms built around a wide variety of print activities, then in talking, reading, writing, playing, and listening to one another, children will want to read and write and feel capable that they can do so (NAEYC & IRA, 1998, p.38). Children can write anything they can say, whereas they can read only a fraction of the words they can say, therefore, writing is easier, quicker, and, in a sense, more naturally learned (Graves, 1999, p.27). In addition to the curriculum changes over the last few decades, there has been a shift in the way students interact with teachers in their journal writing. Years ago, teachers often took dictation from primary age children. Research now indicates that the teachers role should be that of coaching and helping children to do their own writing. Teachers expectations of childrens writing sends the empowering message, You can do it! Taking dictation sends the self-limiting message, You cant, so I will do it for you. (Feldgus & Caronick, 1999, p.9). Research supports the theory that early foundations of reading and writing must reflect developmentally appropriate teaching strategies if students are to have a successful literacy journey. Successful childcentered journal writing is the product of a comfortable, positive, social classroom climate where a balanced multileveled literary program is in place. Students selection of topics makes writing more enjoyable to them, which in turn, will develop self-confidence and success. If writing is perceived as an enjoyable, creative activity, many children will eagerly engage in the act of writing and produce beautiful pieces (Riordan-Karlsson, 1999, p.27). It is the researchers goal to use the developmentally appropriate instructional strategies suggested by this literature review to facilitate students opportunities to become immersed in the successful child-centered journal writing experience explained in the book Kid Writing. Research Process The focus of this research was to examine the Kid Writing approach with consideration to developmentally appropriate strategies for teaching writing in kindergarten. To determine this, there was an investigation to decide in what ways the program had been successful this year, how the strategies were implemented to empower students journal writing, and to determine how the students views of writing and self-confidence developed as an outcome of journal writing. Several sources were utilized to collect data about journal writing. The most valuable source of information was using the students portfolios of journal writing samples throughout the year while reflecting on skills that were introduced at certain stages. Student, parent, and teacher surveys along with student, parent, and teacher interviews were utilized. Teacher observation and observation checklists disclosed additional data. To gather specific information about the success of the child-centered writing program this year, progress in journals from September to June was evaluated. Parents, teachers, and students were interviewed to explore additional ways the program had been successful. To identify how strategies were implemented to empower students journal writing, data was collected through general teacher observation in addition to observational checklists while the students were engaged in journal writing. The students journals and portfolios provided additional information about the strategies that the students were actually utilizing. Students used pictures to prioritize preferred elements of journal writing. Teacher questionnaires provided different perspectives because the teachers have embraced the writing program in varying degrees. The students views and development of self-confidence as an outcome of journal writing were evaluated in student and teacher surveys along with student and parent interviews. The results of this research will serve as an evaluation of Kid Writing and the results will be used to set up the writing program for next year.

Data Analysis

Kid Writing, the newly implemented child-centered journal writing program, seemed to be very successful when considering the aspects of students enjoyment and progress. The data analysis provided additional information as to other ways that the child-centered journal writing program has been successful this year. Kindergarten teachers were interviewed (see Appendix B) and there was agreement that the journal program had been successful this year. In addition to the progress that they saw their students had made on the developmental scale, they indicated other areas of success. They felt that this program encouraged the application of the knowledge that the students were gaining about letters and sounds. Teachers observed their students gaining a positive attitude about writing, enjoying journal time, and that the writing process did not intimidate the students. Positive social interactions and positive building of self-esteem were also mentioned as results of a successful writing program. Teachers felt the success of the program was contingent on having assistance and support during journal writing. Parents were also surveyed about the success of the journal writing program (see Appendix C). Twentyeight out of thirty-four parents returned the survey. Most of the parents felt that their children had a very successful journal writing experience this year. Parents felt that the journal writing program had served as a basis for their children to learn to read and develop numerous other literacy skills related to journal writing. They also felt that the journal writing program encouraged their children to continue using literacy skills at home. All the children wrote at home making cards, notes, letters, using diaries, and writing about their pictures. Parents rated the emotional success and positive attitude about writing and learning as highly as progression through the developmental stages in journal writing.

An evaluation of the individual students progress was determined using the Conventions of Writing Developmental Scale (Kid Writing , pp.169-179, appendix D). Using the students portfolios and present journals, thirty-four students from two classes were rated on their writing in September as compared to June, as indicated in Figure 1. Upon entering kindergarten, eleven children were in the emerging stage of writing, making unidentifiable scribbling. Seventeen children were in the pictorial stage, drawing a somewhat recognizable picture and telling about the picture. Three children were in the precommunicative stage, using letter-like forms to convey a message and attempting to read it back. Four students were in the semiphonetic stage, correctly using some letters to match sounds, writing left to right, and using a beginning letter for a word.

When examining the writing on the developmental scale at the end of the year, great progress was noted. Two children were in the semiphonetic stage. Five children were in the phoenetic stage, using beginning and ending consonant sounds, spelling some high-frequency-words correctly, and writing one or more sentences. Eleven children were in the transitional stage, correctly spelling many high-frequency words in sentences, using a vowel in most syllables, and using simple punctuation. Ten children had moved to the conventional stage, correctly spelling most high-frequency words, and using larger correctly spelled vocabulary in addition to the previous skills. Great progress on this developmental scale combined with the other aspects of success noted by the teachers and parents in interviews indicates remarkable success of the writing program. With the verification of the success of the program, the next investigation was used to determine which strategies were implemented to empower students journal writing. This writing program encourages constructing a very comfortable classroom atmosphere where collaborating is encouraged while students draw their self-selected picture for the day and write about it with teacher assistance, as described below. A confidence building factor is introduced during the first mini-lesson in September demonstrating how the children already know how to do certain kinds of writing, ie: wavy writing, zig-zag writing, loopy writing, etc. The students enjoy using markers for drawing and writing. Using their pictures as a basis, the students always do their writing with an adult. The teacher helps each student write stories by helping them to focus on sounds in words. These sounds are known as moving targets because they change as the teacher and children move through the words. (Feldgus and Cardonick) This stretching allows the children the opportunity to listen for the sounds in their words. The teacher exaggerates key consonant sounds slowly in hopes that the children will pick up on the most obvious sounds the letters whose sounds are heard in their names (ie: T, B, D) After they master the easier sounds, regardless of where they come in the word, the teacher encourages the children to begin to listen for the more difficult sounds. (ie: W, H, Y) They are encouraged to write the letters that they think they hear. This is the step where the children also use magic lines for unknown sounds. Feldgus and Cardonick (1999) explain the magic line as a horizontal line drawn on the paper when the child does not know any sounds in the word that they are trying to write. Since we expect the children to write something for every spoken word, the magic line serves as a placeholder a tool for children to use when they get stuck. The magic line is liberating it frees the children to focus on their thoughts and messages. (Feldgus and Cardonick) The adult then models correct writing for what they say underneath the students writing and the student reads it back to the adult with as much support as needed.

Numerous other strategies were introduced at the beginning of the year. Kids crowns were introduced with themes such as the Wiz of is, Star of are, King of ing to make a visual connection to spell commonly used words and endings. While singing an alphabet song, A for apple, a, a, a, children pointed to the pictures on their individual song sheets as the teacher pointed to the wall alphabet. Saying the alphabet letters and sounds was a great strategy for learning alphabet names and sounds. Room labels such as the go, stop sign on the bathroom door were introduced on the first day of school. Portfolios indicated that many strategies and resources were being used by the end of September. Many students had mixed usage of magic lines, words that were used daily in the morning message, words from kid crowns, and a few beginning sounds (often using the alphabet song chart to recall those sounds). Towards the end of September a popcorn container was added with some words that kept popping up, along with a student-made name word wall. Acting out the punctuation of daily messages through stomping feet for periods, hands up for capitals, and jumping up for exclamation marks focused the students attention on punctuation. Whole class collaboration is encouraged during numerous writing demonstrations as well as helping each other during journal writing time. At this time the students journals were used as demonstrations for certain elements in writing. By the end of October, evidence of punctuation marks, friends names, popcorn words, and some diversity of skills demonstrated through their classmates journals was evidenced in the portfolios. More skills were introduced through shared journals and one student was chosen each day to draw and write on chart paper to be used for demonstration and entered into the Wall of Fame. New beginnings for sentences was the next skill to be encouraged to progress from writing simple sentences starting with I like or This is to using When, Once upon a time, and other sentence starters. The ice cream cone word wall with removable ice cream sight words was added, along with a

family door that had family members names on it. Word family houses with rhyming chunks were added as a reference item for writing. Throughout the year words were added to the popcorn container as well as to the word wall. New crowns were added as the children needed them. The children had a weekly poetry book with songs and finger plays about letters and sounds to go with class themes. These were also used as a resource at journal time. Songs such as My mom and I, my mom and I, thats how we say it, my mom and I were sung when students started to write me and .. in their journals. After October, very diverse stages of writing were evident in student journals. Varying degrees of representations of all the strategies introduced were evident in the subsequent portfolios. At the end of the year, when students were given a survey with pictorial representation as to their favorite parts of journal writing time, the answers varied (see Appendix E). Selfselected topics was chosen the most with drawing as the next favorite during writing as Figure 2 shows.

Teachers help and talking to friends while writing were the next favorites, followed by kid crowns, and sharing ideas. The least favorites were helping others, seeing what others wrote and drew, and writing the words. A few of the children said they really liked them all the same and just picked numbers. Through observation, it was evident that the students enjoyed the self-selection aspects and social aspects the most. Students also appeared to be fascinated by what their peers drew and really enjoyed talking about their peer and their own journal entries. Writing was modeled throughout the day as teachable moments presented themselves. When students finished their journal writing, they would also use clipboards to take class surveys, make books, write letters, make cards, and other writing activities. Kindergarten teachers were surveyed as to which strategies they felt their children used the most during journal time (see Appendix F). Teacher coaching, kid crowns, and word walls were the strategies they felt were most useful, followed by the alphabet chart. Some of the teachers did not use all of the elements of the program in their room so strategies were not consistent in all classes. They felt the students favorite aspects of journal writing were drawing using markers, self-selected topics, writing with the teacher, and sharing their journals. Through four days of observation in June, an observational checklist was utilized to see which strategies the students were using during journal writing (see Appendix G). The strategy that was used the most was

still teacher coaching. Although most of the students were able to write independently using sensible phonetic and transitional spelling, they still enjoyed consulting with the teacher on content, style and organization of their stories. The next most used strategy was the sight and name word walls. It was interesting to see that many of the students were using these words to make larger words such as and to make grand and am to write swam. Beginning letters of childrens names were also used from the name wall, particularly names like Chelsea and Shannon. Figure 3 shows these strategies and although less than half of the students used crowns during the observation periods at the end of the year, all students used them in the beginning of the year. Less than half of the students used peer help on the observational checklist to find resources around the room, but it was observed that there was tremendous collaboration going on in the classroom. This collaboration was evidenced in deciding what to draw and in the actual writing process. Fewer children used labels around the room, the alphabet chart for reference, and the family chunk houses. The children moved with ease and confidence to find what they needed.

The childrens use of various strategies changed as the year went on and as they mastered certain skills. The subject matter of their journals also changed. According to their portfolios, most of the journal writing evolved around themselves and their family in the beginning of the year. Mid year the portfolios showed a lot of writing about friends and going places. The subject matter at the end of the year still involved friends but also took on a new dimension of added imagination. A lot of these stories were the result of collaboration and sharing journals. While observing, it was amazing to hear the collaboration when two children were doing their drawing. One student was talking about going camping and the other student was talking about writing about Mr. Magoo. By the time both pictures were finished one child had a realistic story about an adventure on a white water rafting trip and the other had Mr. Magoo going on an adventure that included white water rafting. Their ideas inspired and embellished each others stories. As a result of shared journals, and using their peers for modeling writing, students began to want to write episode stories, building on their themes from the day before. During shared journal time the students learned to ask questions about the childs journal entry that was being shared. As the students embellished their stories, they came up with more thoughts to add to the next entry. It was amazing to see this progression in their writing evolve through use of peer modeling. When students were interviewed about their views on writing, they only had positive responses (see Appendix H). All the students felt as though they could write well, and felt the other children in the class could also write. When asked how they learned to write their perceptions were varied. A few said their moms taught them, but most said they learned by doing journal writing. A few students replied that the teacher helped them learn, the alphabet song taught them, kid crowns, and a few said they learned how to write by reading what the teacher wrote under their picture and reading it back each day. Most of the

children said that they wrote at home. Students also added that they thought journal writing was fun, it helped them be good at drawing and writing, and many expressed confidence in their ability to write and read. Students looked at themselves as writers and had developed self-confidence about being able to read their previous journals. The parents interviews about their perspectives on journal writing added more insight about their children becoming empowered through the use of self- selected topics (see Appendix H). They felt that their children felt important because of their free choice of topics and that these self-selected topics were a great source for self-expression. According to parents writing served as an outlet for feelings that may not have been expressed, such as the events of September 11. Many parents attributed the gaining of selfconfidence in writing to the risk-free social atmosphere. One parent said that her child loved journal writing because, he always did it right. Other parents felt that journal writing had empowered their children to read through the reading of their own words. One parent commented that their childs enthusiasm for reading comes from discovering her own words first in journals. The parents were astounded at the progress and creativity that their children displayed in journal writing. Some parents expressed that their students were so proud of their writing and that the students spent a great amount of time reading their previous journals. A great indicator of the success of this program was that numerous parents commented that their children had great confidence in themselves regarding reading and writing and cant wait to learn more in first grade. Parents remarked that their children have a great enthusiasm for learning because this child-centered writing program was presented in such an enjoyable manner where each child progressed at their own pace. Most parents also indicated that the students enjoyed writing at home on their own. The research gathered from all sources indicated that the students had a successful journal writing experience and gained selfconfidence and enthusiasm for learning.

Action Plan Success of the child-centered Kid Writing program encompasses strategies, resources, and benefits that are far more extensive than what is stated in the curriculum guide. Strategies that were most beneficial for this success were in alignment with research on developmentally appropriate practices for kindergarten. Children did work on self-selected topics in a comfortable social atmosphere where they were able to develop at their own pace with appreciation for their individuality. This is what research suggests for developmentally appropriate practices in kindergarten literacy development. The comfortable, social, and co-operative environment of Kid Writing made children feel at ease with writing from the beginning of school. In this positive environment, the children felt comfortable because each childs writing was valued, regardless of their ability level. Students selecting their own topics added to their enjoyment and interest in writing. This provided motivation for writing about things that were meaningful to them and to their peers. Modeling was a valuable strategy for successful progress in journal writing. Students gained skills through teachable moments on the part of the teacher, through teacher coaching while writing, and through the modeling of peer journals. Writing was demonstrated as a meaningful way of recording information. Shared journal writing motivated the students interest and was valuable in expanding skills necessary for journal writing. This seemed to help the children make connections to their world and then apply these skills in their future journal writing. Students felt empowered to write and read as the result of modeling and self-selected topics when combined with available classroom resources. Self-selected topics and drawing about themselves was the most preferred aspect of journal writing from the students perspective. The research indicated that teacher and peer modeling was essential in the progression of skills in journal writing. The use of resources varied in the classroom according to individual preferences and the students developmental writing levels throughout the year. The use of kid crowns, magic lines, word walls, room labels, word chunk houses, songs, and the alphabet chart were all integral parts of the students success in journal writing. These resources empowered the students to be able to find many of the words that they wanted to write in their journals. The skill of combining resources to make words showed the success of

these resources. Students were involved in various print activities throughout their day, which also facilitated journal writing. When I initiated this research I hoped to evaluate the success of the program and the strategies that made it successful. As the data was gathered it became evident that Kid Writing was indeed a very successful program. The progress on the developmental scale was only one aspect of its success. To be developmentally appropriate, research supports that the growth of the whole child must be considered. The strategies implemented to facilitate this writing program developed so much more than growth on the developmental scale. This program also fosters a positive attitude about writing and learning in addition to bolstering the students self-esteem. Journal writing also provided a source for self-expression and socialization during collaboration at writing time. These social and emotional growth areas were evident in the observation of journal writing and particularly in the student and parent interviews. Numerous literacy skills, social skills, fine motor skills, in additional to self-expression, can all be developed through modeling and journal writing. Many of the skills in the curriculum can be introduced and integrated through journal writing. The integration of literacy skills in this way, is a more meaningful and natural way for the students to learn instead of through worksheets. The success of this child-centered journal writing program will be shared with the other kindergarten teachers to allay their concerns about the worthiness of the time allocated to this program. Since children preferred and used different strategies and resources throughout the year, this should serve as encouragement for teachers to make and provide numerous resources during journal writing time. The research would indicate that there should be a continuation of a variety of strategies and resources available to the students throughout the year. Teachers concern about the amount of time allocated to this writing program, when considering the many other curriculum skills, should be alleviated in light of this research. Many skills in the curriculum can be introduced and integrated through journal writing and thus presented through the students interests in a more natural environment. Child-centered journal writing encourages the development of students wanting to become lifetime writers and learners and believing that they can. Consideration of the whole child where each child is made

to feel successful at their developmental readiness stage in programs such as these will keep the g arden in kindergarten.

References Bracey, G. (2000, May). A childrens garden no more. Phi Delta Kappan, 81 (9 ), 71. Bredekamp, S., Knuth, L., & Shulman, C. (1992). What does research say about early childhood education? Retrieved May 11, 2002, from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory Web site: Dyson, A. (1993). Social worlds of children learning to write in an urban primary school. New York: Teachers College Press. Feldgus, E., & Caronick, I. (1999). Kid writing. Bothell, WA: Wright Group Publishing, 9-43. Fisher, B. (1998). Joyful Learning in Kindergarten (Rev. ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann 3-14. Garcia, J., and Maurer, M. (1999, May). Embargoed for release. Primary Literacy Standard Press Release, Joint Program of the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, D.C., and the learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved May 11, 2002, from Graves, R. (ED.) (1999). Writing, teaching, learning: A sourcebook. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/ Cook, 27. Hall, D., & Cunningham, P. (1997). Reading and Writing for Kindergarten. Greensboro, North Carolina : Carson-Dellosa Publishing, 2. Hall, D., & Williams, E. (2000). The teachers guide to building blocks: A developmentally appropriate, multilevel framework for kindergarten. Greensboro, North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing, 7. Montgomery, W. (2001, Jan-Mar). Journal Writing. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 17,93. National Association for the Education of Young Children & International Reading Association. (1998, May). Joint position statement by the NAEYC and IRA. Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children. In Young Children, 53(4), 30-46. Nel, E. (2000, Spring). Academics, literacy, and young children. Childhood Education, 141. Plevyak, L. & Morris, K. (2002, March).Why is kindergarten an endangered species? Educational Digest, 67(7), 23. Riordan-Karlsson, M. (1999). The Process of Writing. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, 27. Sigmon, C. (2001). Are journals a part of four blocks? Article #71 retrieved May 11, 2002 from

Vasquez, V. (2001, May). Negotiating a critical literacy curriculum with young children. Phi Delta Kappa Center for Evaluation, Development, and Research. Retrieved May 11, 2002, from, 6.

Appendix B Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire Journal Writing Program 1. How many of your students have reached the phonetic stage on the developmental scale? The phonetic stage is when students can represent some beginning and ending sounds, some highfrequency words, and some vowels (often not the correct ones). ___none ___some ____most ____all 2. How did your students feel about journal writing? ___did not like it ___some liked it ____most liked it ___most loved it 3. 4. Do you feel the journal writing program has been successful this year? ____ In which ways has the child-centered writing program been successful? _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________

Appendix C Parent Questionnaire Kindergarten Journal Writing 1. How do you feel your childs experience with journal writing has been this year ? ___not successful ___somewhat successful ___very successful 2. How much progress has your child made this year? ___ no progress ____some progress ____great progress


Which factors do you feel positively influenced your childs progress in journal writing this year? __________________________________ _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


How often does your child use journal-writing techniques at home? ____ never _____sometimes ____often


How does your child feel about journal type writing? ____ does not enjoy ____enjoys somewhat ___greatly enjoys


Which aspects of journal writing were the most enjoyable from your childs perspective?_______________________________ ___________________________________________________


Additional comments about your childs experience with journal writing:

__________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

Appendix D

Appendix E

Appendix F Kindergarten Teacher Survey

Strategies used during Journal Writing Please prioritize which strategies were the most helpful to your students during journal writing. (One denoting most used strategies, NA if the strategy was not part of your program.) ____kid crowns ____word walls ____word chunk houses ____songs, finger plays ____alphabet chart ____room labels ____peer help ____teacher help ____magic lines Appendix G Observational Checklist Strategies Used to Complete Journal Writing Name Word Wall-N name crowns Alphabet chart sight word wall-S Teacher help word chunk houses Room labels Peer help


Appendix H Student Interview Feelings about Journal Writing 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Can you journal write? ______________________ Are you good at journal writing? ______________ Who else can write in our class? ______________ When did you learn to write? ________________ How did you learn to write? _________________ Do you like to write? ______________________ What do you like about journal writing? ______________

8. How does journal writing make you feel? _____________