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Basic to the tenets of wholistic literacy instruction are the beliefs that reading and writing should be relevant to the learner, should serve real-life purposes and, consequently, should be meaningful (Goodman, 1986). Dialogue journals, described as written conversations between two or more people over an extended period of time (Staton, 1988), fit this description. Communication within a dialogue journal is in formal and focuses on topics of mutual interest. They provide an arena for young students that is risk-free and empowering as new readers and writers are encouraged to use their invented spelling and to learn about literacy in an integrative manner (Bode, 1989). Dialogue journals serve as bridges between spoken conversation and written expression and help students develop an awareness of the real purposes of reading and writing (Gambrell, 1985). In addition, these journals provide a forum for sharing ideas, developing literacy skills and enhancing participants abilities to interact on paper in a warm and human way.

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