This study examined the literacy identity development of fourth graders engaged in a writer's workshop, with literacy identity development referring to the ways students come to see themselves as readers and writers or the ways that others come to see them as readers and writers. The researcher collected data through observations during writing workshop and interviews with students and the teacher.
The primary finding of the study was that the student's literacy identities were shaped by their interactions through and around the texts shared aloud during Final Friday Features. Final Friday Features occurred every Friday and involved each student and the teacher sharing aloud a piece of writing. At first, the students and the teacher commented on each other's writing during Final Friday Features. This allowed the students to directly position each other in certain ways. However, the teacher decided that she did not want students to make comments during Final Friday Features and attempted to stop this behavior. The students did greatly reduce the amount of commentary being made, however, they still desired to communicate with and position each other during Final Friday Features. As a result, students began to position each other through their writing by using intertextual tools, such as referencing themselves, referencing other students or the teacher, relying on popular genres such as short stories, making pop culture references, and referencing texts written by other students. Some students were able to exercise agency and increase or maintain their status by using these intertextual tools. However, these intertextual tools were differentially available to students depending on their status. This status was connected to a variety of classroom factors, such as race, class, and gender. For example, all of the students who occupied high status positions were white, middle class males; while all students in lower status positions were girls, persons of color, individuals with disabilities, and/or students from low income families.
The findings of this study are important because they show the complex interplay between literacy identities and a variety of other factors, such as race, class, and gender.
KEYWORDS: Identities, Literacy, Writing Workshop, Intersectionality, Elementary