Synopses & Reviews
When he was five and a half years old, Paul Bissex wrote and posted this sign over his workbench: DO NAT DSTRB GNYS AT WRK. The "work" from which this "genius" refused to be "disturbed" was the work typical of all children, namely, the task of learning how to write and read. In GNYS AT WRK
, Glenda Bissexgoes far beyond the chronicle of her son's accomplishment to provide the first in-depth case study of a child's confrontation with written language, rich in revelations about the nature and processes of the mind.
Paul begins by writing notes in a system of his own invention--like IEAVGAWNTOOTHESTOR for "I have gone to the store"--and this systembecomes more elaborate as he goes on to create stories, games and signs. Eventually, the system merges with conventional written English as Paul learns to separate words and to associate letters not with their names but with sets of possible sounds.
Glenda Bissex shows how the evolution of Paul's writing ability is closely intertwined with his reading development--in Paul's own words, "once you can write a word you can read it." She also makes an intriguing comparison between Paul's schoolwork and his endeavors at home, and explores the influence of his personal interests and world view on his facility with words. Her study is a unique, detailed account of the "genius" that is, quite simply, the human capacity for language.
A fascinating drama of one little bo's acquisition of the first stage of literacy, with a scientific analysis of the underlying theories and research. Jeanne Chall (Harvard University)
...an exciting integrated account of developments that have almost always been studied in isolation from each other and over short periods. Bissex's observations, and her conclusions, are of educational as well as scientific importance. Charles Read (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
At five years old, the author's son wrote and posted this sign over his workbench: DO NAT DSTRB GNYS AT WRK. The "work" from which this "genius" refused to be "disturbed" was typical of all children, namely learning how to read and write. Bissexgoes far beyond the chronicle of this accomplishment to provide the first in-depth case study of a child's confrontation with written language, rich in revelations about the nature and processes of the mind.
About the Author
Glenda L. Bissex is Research Assistant Professor of English in the Vermont Writing Program, University of Vermont.
Table of Contents
- Paul: Invented Spelling
- Other Young Spellers and Writers
- Paul: Toward Conventional Spelling
- Paul: Sustained and More Mature Writing
- Educational Implications
- Paul: Working on Reading
- Other Young Readers
- Paul: Enjoying Reading
- Paul: Working on Vocabulary (7:2–8:3)
- Paul: Diversified Reading (7:7–9:11)
- Summary of Paul’s Reading Development
- Educational Implications for Reading
III. Writing and Reading
- Writing and Reading Converge: Paul, Ten Years Old
- Relationships between Writing and Reading in Paul’s Development
- Learning to Write and Read as Forms of Development