Date of Award

Spring 1990

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This research is based on an ethnographic study of how children in grade five choose to relate reading and writing. The two-year study, which took place in Mary Ann Wessells' grade five classroom in Stratham Memorial School, investigated how changing the classroom environment enabled the children to engage in the processes of reading and writing and make connections between learning in both areas. The data were collected through participant-observation in the room with fieldnotes, interviews with the children, and the children's writing, writing folders, reading folders and journals as primary data sources. The results of the study describe: (1) the rationale for and the changes in the classroom environment, (2) the changes in the children's writing and reading, and (3) the relationships the children establish between reading/writing particularly in the areas of genre, theme and stylistic devices. The findings suggest that when the classroom environment is changed to enable children to engage in the processes of reading and writing, the children then have opportunities to relate learning in one area with the other, reading to writing and writing to reading.