Date of Award

Fall 2007

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Education


This qualitative study pinpoints the particular circumstances surrounding special teacher-created programs and projects, both in classrooms and in after-school settings, showing how such programs operate under social conditions and engage social processes not generally found in routine public school instruction. For that very reason these are able to include an emphasis on community, play, and heterogeneous grouping. The case considered here is that of an after-school student publishing program in the Northeastern United States, and follows the history and progress of the program. The program in this elementary school was created and organized to develop and extend student literacy. It culminated each year in a school-wide literary magazine, open to contributors among all students, Grades K-4, and it was widely distributed to the school's community. The study specifically traces a series of program meetings in 2006, leading to the publication of that year's literary magazine. In the after-school classroom, involved adults played the role of guides leading the students through a process towards a productive, collaborative goal. The study analyzes the role of such special literacy programs in providing students with social opportunities to extend and explore literacy activities and be heard and supported by the wider educational community, in this case, through their student literary magazine. The implication of these findings is that special, goal-oriented literacy programs and projects, in the classroom, and before and after school, serve as an important balance to the routine school instruction in that they provide educators with the necessary opportunities to extend, develop, and---what is of major importance---to celebrate student literacy activities.