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Whole language instruction and an emphasis on the writing process have had a significant impact on the teaching of writing. Many whole language teachers are already in practice, and more educators are moving toward this kind of teaching. However, comparative research on the value of whole language curriculum is limited. It is important to study children's interpretations (Erickson and Shultz, 1992) as they are reflected in the written products they generate in different kinds of classrooms. We need to know more about the sense children make of their instruction, what they are learning about written language, and the kinds of writing they produce. The purpose of this article is to report on a two-year, descriptive study of eight, low-income children's writing in skills-based and whole language instruction during kindergarten and first grade. Our focus was on the development of emergent writers in these two different kinds of instruction.

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