Agency in a first-grade writing workshop: A case study of two composers

Danielle Rylak, Lindsey Moses, Carolina Torrejón Capurro, Frank Serafini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There is a need to better understand the agentic choices that students make to communicate meaning through their multimodal compositions. Utilizing a case study approach, this article examines the composing of two first-grade students and discusses how these students utilized multimodal composing techniques from structured writing units during an “open unit” where students were given wider parameters for making intentional decisions with their compositions. Analysis of students’ compositions revealed that students chose to use and design composing techniques from the previous focal units in their compositions. Findings suggest that focal writing units, followed by open composing, allows students to have more agency as writers to make creative intertextual connections as they design techniques from available designs they’ve learned in order to serve their own compositional needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Multimodal compositions
  • early literacy
  • primary literacy
  • social semiotics
  • student agency
  • writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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