Where do my words come from? Towards methods for analyzing word choice in primary level writing

Cherise Kristoffersen

Primary writing, Word choice, Lexical features, intertextuality


Few intellectual tools exist for characterizing word choice development in primary level writing. The aim of this study was to identify categories for describing the development of word choice in young children’s narrative writings. Such categories may be used to demonstrate how word choice develops within writing practices of primary classrooms. The analysis was based on thirty texts from six students studying Norwegian as a first-language and collected from mid-year second grade through fourth grade utilizing case-study methodology. In the students’ classroom, considerable emphasis was put on using literature to establish an intertextual basis for student learning. The students’ texts were scored by a group of teachers using a rubric specifically designed for word choice to analyze verbs and adjectives, lexical individuality, and lexical diversity, as additions to the more traditional word counts. These categories were discussed, and many were found fruitful for tracing intertextual understandings and describing word choice development. However, the category of lexical individuality may be too conservatively defined to capture important developments among this age group.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies