Year: 1998 Source: Journal of Literacy Research, v.30, no.1, (1998), p.53-84 SIEC No: 20080043

This article analyzes 13 Ã’publishedÓ stories written by young writers during 1 month in a multicultural, mixed-age primary classroom. The first goal is to examine how primary children constructed gender in their own stories. The second goal is to explore how children, at times, wrote against the traditional gendered positions. The data were gathered as part of a 3-year longitudinal study on children’s literacy experiences across home and school environments. Primary data sources utilized include (a) participant-observer fieldnotes; (b) interviews with the classroom teacher, parents, and children; and (c) children’s writing. In analyzing students’ writing and how they reified or redefined gender expectations, we relied heavily on Foucault’s notion of power and how it is related to positioning. Although stereotypical images of dominant males and passive females were numerous, there were also disruptions of gender stereotypes. Implications include the need to help preservice and in-service teachers increase their awareness of how our children take up positions as gendered beings and also ways in which they break out of those traditional frames. Once upon a time there were princesses everywhere. There were princesses in the cave, in houses and castles too. They were all married except one princess. Her name was Amy. Then one day Amy started walking to the castle where all the princesses were dressing for the ball. They all had tickets for the ball except Amy. She was left behind. She was very embarrassed because her dress was so plain and ugly. Amy started crying and crying. She was very, very sad. The princesses were having fun at the ball. They danced and danced. They were very sad and happy because they thought about how Amy always loved them and helped them. When they came back home to the castle, they saw Amy with a knife stuck in her head. She was dead see Figure 1. They all cried. They were all sad, so they killed themselves too. Then the room was very sad and spooky.