Authentic reading, writing, and discussion

Linda B. Gambrell, Elizabeth M. Hughes, Leah Calvert, Jacquelynn A. Malloy, Brent Igo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In this exploratory study, reading, writing, and discussion were examined within the context of a pen pal intervention focusing on authentic literacy tasks. The study employed a mixed-method design with a triangulation-convergence model to explore the relationship between authentic literacy tasks and the literacy motivation of elementary students (n = 180), while also seeking to document whether students demonstrated accountability to community, content, and critical thinking during small-group discussions. Data sources included pre- and post intervention scores on the Literacy Motivation Survey, transcriptions of small-group discussions, and transcriptions of interviews with 28 key student informants. Findings integrated across quantitative and qualitative data sources suggest that authentic literacy tasks have the potential to support and sustain students' literacy motivation. Analysis of the discussions revealed that students demonstrated accountability to community, content, and critical thinking. Implications for the use of authentic tasks in literacy instruction, as well as suggestions for future research, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-258
Number of pages25
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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