I just received the September 2008 Issue of The Reading Teacher. It’s already accumulating sticky notes, tabs, and dog-ears since it’s packed with a wealth of information.
There’s an article I highly suggest you read entitled “‘To Be a Writer’ Representations of Writers in Recent Children’s Novels.” Here’s the abstract, which I took from the IRA Website:
What significance does writing have for the young writer characters in a set of children’s books? Twenty-five intermediate novels featuring characters who write were studied, using content analysis, to find out. The researchers present their findings by describing the characters and why they write. Reasons for writing range from exposing injustice to seeking to communicate. According to this study, the benefits of the act of writing for the character also warrant attention. The benefits include validating identity, coping with life experience, building relationships, and affecting change. It was also discovered that when the writing is shared, the effect on the audience is significant. These novels present images of writers and writing that readers of all ages may find inspiring. The researchers present implications for teachers, young writers/readers, and others concerned with the representation of writing in children’s books.
Abstract from Parsons, L.T., & Colabucci, L. (2008, September). To Be a Writer: Representations of Writers in Recent Children’s Novels. The Reading Teacher, 62(1), 44–52. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.1.5
While I knew quite a few of the books on the list, I never really thought about why the characters write, what writing does for the character, etc. Parsons and Colabucci really delve deep into the internal motivations of characters who write, which can help us (i.e., teachers) when we read one of these books aloud to our students and wish to go further than just mentioned, “I notice this character is a writer.”
If you don’t subscribe to The Reading Teacher, then you can go onto the IRA’s Website and pay a small fee for access to the article. This is one of those articles that teachers who teach writing in grades 4, 5, or 6 just have to read! 🙂