Date of Award

Winter 1988

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study is about the various meanings that being literate holds for two students in an academic setting. The study begins in a description of a prose writing classroom where informants are located and then goes on to follow two students from prose writing into other settings across the curriculum to consider how talk, reading, and writing are used in these classrooms. The data was collected using a number of field methods such as participant observation and intensive interviews as well as non-interactive methods such as textual and transcript analysis. Two extensive case studies form the center of the study.

The results from this study suggest that academic literacy cannot be untied from a student's holistic literacy: that the package comes complete. Students approach academic reading and writing tasks from the lens of both gender and human development as well as from the unique lens of private literacies, all issues which often are neglected in college classrooms. Ideas are offered for how reading, writing and talking may be used to undergird learning in all settings in higher education, not just in writing courses.