Choice and constraint: Using SFL genre theory to teach primary-grade students to write arguments about literature
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Abstract

Choice and constraint: Using SFL genre theory to teach primary-grade students to write arguments about literature

Jason Moore
Journal of Writing Research (2019), 429-464

This paper offers a description and analysis of a genre-informed intervention that supported elementary-grade ELs to write arguments in response to narrative text. Instruction engaged students with the target genre's purpose, structure, and some key language features. The analysis offers an examination of the classroom discourse and materials, as well as the students' written responses. The paper offers evidence that lessons often supported students to actively engage in classroom conversations that highlighted some of the natural constraints and choices consistent with the target genre. The student writing samples provide evidence that young students are capable of writing analytical responses to literature with support. Students were able to write in ways that served the purpose of the genre and are highly valued in ELA classrooms. In addition, the analysis found significant variety among the student products: they took varied evaluative stances in response to prompts, modified their interpretations of character attitudes using nuanced lexis, and provided differing, but relevant evidence in support of their claims. Many students were likewise able to provide elaborated analysis of evidence from literary texts in a variety of ways.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2019.10.03.02

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