Children Want to Write...If We Let Them: A Case Study of Writing in the Elementary Classroom

Charlene A. Andrews, Georgia Southern University


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify what instructional strategies teachers use as part of the writing process, and how they use critical literacies to empower students. In addition, the purpose of this study was also to investigate whether elementary writing teachers incorporated critical literacies with the writing process. The cooperating school district is located in a county in southeastern Georgia. The study consisted of a survey questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions, two classroom instruction observations, two semi-structured interviews with a second grade teacher and a fifth grade teacher, field notes, and student writing samples. The survey questionnaire was given to ten teachers who were recommended for the study by their administration, and eight of the ten chosen teachers participated in the questionnaire. Two teachers were chosen to participate in the observations and interviews. The survey questionnaire responses were used to determine which two teachers would participate in the study. Six themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) Teacher as Facilitator; (2) Student Centered Writing; (3) Writing as Part of the Daily Routine; (4) Engaged Student Writers; (5) Student Authority during the Writing Process; and (6) Meaningful Writing. The findings concluded that numerous instructional strategies the two elementary teacher participants use work well in the teaching of writing. In addition, findings showed that the participating teachers did not know much about critical literacies, although they incorporated critical litercies somewhat in their instruction. The results showed that the teachers have flexibility and freedom in their planning and instruction, and are able to provide writing instruction that is engaging and meaningful to students.