Collaborative literacy activity in print-enriched play centers: Exploring the "zone" in same-age and multi-age groupings

James F. Christie, Sandra J Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


This study describes the collaborative literacy activity that occurred in one teacher's sociodramatic play center in two situations: when she taught a multi-age (K-2) class and a year later when she taught a same-age kindergarten. In each situation, 15 hours of free play were videotaped and a detailed transcript was made of the action and dialogue that occurred. We analyzed the data to compare the collaborative literacy interactions that occurred in the play center under the two grouping arrangements and to test the assumption that collaborative learning always flows from "experts" to "novices," a basic tenet of the zone of proximal development. Our findings showed that the children in the multi-age group engaged in a larger amount and a broader range of collaborative literacy activities than did the children in the same-age kindergarten. We also found the collaborative interactions that occurred in the play center were more complex than the zone of proximal development would lead one to believe. Many collaborative interactions in both groups were multi-directional in nature, with the "expert" and "novice" roles not firmly set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-131
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

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