Date of Award

Spring 1988

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Jane Hansen


The concept of genre has long been fundamental in both literature and literacy studies. In this qualitative study of first graders' concepts of genre, the researcher observed and interviewed Patricia McLure's class of first graders for six months. The teacher uses a process (or response-based) literacy curriculum.

The children were watched and interviewed while they wrote and read texts. As they defined their texts collectively in small and large groups, genres emerged. Many of these child-defined genres are different than adult-defined genres. The children's categories and conventions in texts reveal what the children and the teacher value in and outside of the classroom. These categories also reveal fundamental differences in the reading and writing programs within this classroom.

Genre study provides a lens through which process teaching and the roles of students, teachers and researchers in response-based classrooms can be critically examined. In calling for further studies of genre in different classrooms, the changing roles of research participants are considered.