Date of Award

Spring 1999

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Jane Hansen


In this research study, I investigated how middle school writers use talk and multi-media journals to forge a literate classroom community. Talk and multi-media journals helped middle school writers to construct and maintain a safe, caring, supportive, and respectful learning environment where transformative literacy and learning experiences could take place.

Classroom talk played a vital role in improving students' relationships in this literate classroom community and engaging them in meaningful ways with their multi-media journals. During the research study, explicit instruction in the social aspects of talk emerged as important as explicit instruction in language arts content.

The multi-media approach to journal writing evolved from my own membership in a Women's Journal Group. The multi-media approach to journal writing involved the use of other mediums, especially the visual arts, while writing. Students reported that the multi-media journals helped them to begin and continue writing as well as increased their enjoyment of writing.

I conducted this teacher research study over a six month period. I employed the tools and procedures of ethnographic and qualitative research in the data collection and analysis.