Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lucy Spence


This research investigated how teacher-led and student-led conversations held within writing groups in one sixth grade class helped to support the acquisition of writing discourse and impact the writing decisions made by middle level writers. Additionally, a pre/post survey was implemented to investigate the writing dispositions held by writing participants by exploring the feelings, beliefs, and attitudes associated with writing. The survey provided additional insight into individual writer perspectives.

Analysis of the data showed that dialogue facilitated understanding and helped to encourage students to verbalize confusing concepts, clarify ideas, and utilize content terminology as thinking was made visible while conversations gave evidence of negotiated meaning. This dissertation included detailed descriptions of writing methodology used to conduct this project. These qualitative findings further support the significance of dialogue found in collaborative writing groups, where students are granted space to converse, share, scaffold, and participate as a contributing member within a community of middle level writers. This study offers a framework for teachers/educators who are interested in using dialogue, student research, and dispositional writing surveys to better support young writers.