Text Construction in Preschool

Submitted by: Karen A Krepps
Abstract: Research demonstrates that writing is a foundational piece of children’s overall literacy development. Additionally, early writing skills are strongly correlated with later reading abilities (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Even though young children accumulate much information regarding concepts of print and experiment with “writing” from an early age, the processes they use and the products they create look different than those of older children and adults.
Given the importance of writing to literacy development, it is useful to increase our understanding of how young children “write” using alternate and multiple modes (i.e. drawing, dialogue, play, and technology) before being able to communicate with conventional written language. Additionally, recognizing intention in a child’s text may only become known as adults watch or listen as the text is created. This is particularly applicable for children in preschool classrooms. This study is carried out as an observational case study to investigate what types of texts preschool children create and how they accomplish this within the context of their preschool environment. Research questions are: What kinds of text do preschool children create? How do preschool children describe what they are doing and why they are doing it as they create text? How do children respond to a classroom center framed as a site for “writing”?
By carefully observing children within the natural boundaries of their classroom in the process of creating text, extensive stories can be developed (Dyson & Genishi, 2005; Stake, 1995). Observational field notes, informal interviews and artifacts are the primary sources of data. A constant comparative method of analysis will be used to code, categorize, and find patterns among the data. These analyses will inform early childhood educators as to the text-making process of preschool children. It is hoped that results of this study may lead educators to determine ways of encouraging children to become confident “writers” in preschool.


Dyson, A. H., & Genishi, C. (2005). On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

National Early Literacy Panel. (2008). Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. Washington, D.C.: National Institute for Literacy.

Snow, C., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.