Narrating and performing identity: Literacy specialists' writing identities

Marilyn McKinney, Cyndi Giorgis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In this study, we explored ways that four literacy specialists who worked in three schools that were part of one state's Reading Excellence Act (REA) grant constructed their identities as writers and as teachers of writing. We also explored how they negotiated the performance of those identities in different contexts over a two-year period. Literacy specialists' writer's autobiographies composed during the first year and interviews conducted near the end of the second year comprised the major data sources that were analyzed through narrative analysis. Using Wortham's (2001) process of recording events and characters associated with those events allowed us to examine not only identity construction but also the performative nature of the telling of narratives through interactional positioning. The analysis explored complicated ways in which identities and contexts associated with schooled literacies aligned and conflicted, uncovering layers and intricacies of identity construction and enactment over time, and within and across narratives. Implications of these explorations for work in teacher education in terms of preparation of literacy educators and professional development suggest the importance of creating opportunities for revisiting autobiographical narratives to inform practice. In addition, we point to the power of narrative as it relates to both the telling of stories about identity and as an analytic tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-149
Number of pages46
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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