National Writing Project

TR 15. Negotiating Among Multiple Worlds: The Space/Time Dimensions of Young Children's Composing

By: Anne Haas Dyson
Publication: National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report
Date: May 1988

Summary: In this examination of the drawing, talking, and writing of primary students, Dyson focuses on children's growing awareness of text time and space as they develop as authors of fictional prose.

 

Excerpt

I argue here that children's major developmental challenge is not simply to create a unified text world but to move among multiple worlds, carrying out multiple roles and coordinating multiple space/time structures. That is, to grow as writers of imaginary worlds--and, by inference, other sorts of text worlds as well--children must differentiate, and work to resolve the tensions among, the varied symbolic and social worlds within which they write, worlds with differing dimensions of time and space. And it is our own differentiation of these competing worlds that will allow us as adults to understand the seemingly unstable worlds--the shifts of time frames and points of view--that children create.

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