‘This is a message for …’: Third graders’ use of written text functions to facilitate interpersonal relationships

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This article describes the ways in which a class of 7- and 8-year-old children used writing to communicate. Using Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics as a theoretical frame, I examine what functions these messages served, how functions varied from child to child and how the practice of message-sending evolved over time. Analysis of data revealed that: (a) children employed all of the functions enumerated by Halliday and (b) children varied significantly in the types of functions that characterized their texts. I argue that the learning environment created by the teacher – one of trust and student choice – served to nourish the message-sending practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-133
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016



  • agency
  • children’s writing
  • genre
  • language and communication
  • literacy practices
  • texts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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