Poetic Language, Interdiscursivity and Intertextually in Fifth Graders’ Poetry: An Interpretive Study

May 27, 2016


In spite of views that children’s writing development is in large part a linguistic complex process involved in their engagement within and across social activities in and out of school, the literature is scant on the wide range of semiotic resources that children may draw on to animate their poetry writing and performances.  Drawing from a case study of poetry writing and performance in one U.S. fifth-grade classroom, this article uses interpretive methods and textual analysis to ask:  1) What poetic language do children draw on and identify in their written poems?, 2) What interdiscursive and intertextual writing practices do children draw on to write poetry? and 3) How, if at all, might the act of reading an original poem influence children’s writing practices and literacy learning?  Highlighted by illustrative vignettes of three fifth grade students’ poems, data suggest that children’s poems most often employed features including stanza break, varied types of rhyme, alliteration, and metaphor. Furthermore, some children’s poems could even be classified into distinct poetic structures.  The data also suggest that children appropriated and recontextualized content for a single poem from a variety of semiotic resources in and out of school. Lastly, children’s performances were caught up with satisfying multiple audiences, including themselves. This study suggests that elementary children can control the process of poetry writing and performance through active integration of formal poetic language taught with interdiscursive and intertextual practices.

Certo, J. L.  (2015).  Poetic language, interdiscursivity and intertextuality in fifth graders’ poetry:  An interpretive study.  Journal of Literacy Research, 47(1), 49-82.

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