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Dialogic literacy: Talking, reading and writing among primary school children

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Rojas-Drummond, S 
Alarcón, M 
Trigo, AL 
Barrera, MJ 


This study investigates the interplay between talk, reading and writing as 6th grade Mexican primary school children worked together, in small groups, on a psycholinguistic task that required them to read three related texts and then write an integrative summary. The study was conducted in the context of an educational program called ‘Learning Together’ (LT), which uses collaborative learning to enhance the development of children's oracy and literacy. Analyses of children's dialogues using the Ethnography of Communication in combination with a novel ‘Scheme for Educational Dialogue Analysis (SEDA)’ (Hennessy et al., 2016), revealed important improvements in effective oral communication - and specifically a shift towards the use of dialogic styles of interaction - between the children who participated in the LT program (as compared to those who did not). These improvements were accompanied by significantly higher quality integrative summaries, not only when children worked in small groups but also individually. The latter results indicate appropriation of sophisticated literacy abilities by the children. Further analyses of the relations among talk, reading and writing suggest that these processes are interwoven through subtle intertextual relations and support each other in a dynamic and iterative manner. We discuss the theoretical, methodological and practical relevance of the study.



Dialogic interactions, Reading comprehension, Writing, Literacy teaching and learning

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Learning, Culture and Social Interaction

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Elsevier BV
British Academy (PM120044)
The work reported in this paper was supported by the Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) (DGAPA-UNAM) (PAPIIT Project Number: IN303716). Professor Rojas-Drummond would like to thank the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, UK for hosting her as Visiting Scholar while part of this manuscript was being prepared. Her visiting Scholarship was funded by the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico (CONACYT Project Number: 160873). In addition, some of the methodological tools used in the study reported derived from a collaborative work carried out for a project entitled ‘A Tool for Analysing Dialogic Interactions in Classrooms’ ( funded through the British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme (ref. RG66509), between January 2013–December 2015.