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This photo essay focuses upon the literacy practices of two groups of preschoolers as they built, illustrated, and dictated stories in response to their participation in a “Castle Project.” Data, including literacy artifacts, photodocumentation, sociodramatic play scenarios, and conversations are qualitatively analyzed, coded, and evaluated over a three month period. We use a narrative approach to describe the three- and four-year-olds’ talk, actions, and ideas, and the ways block play facilitated their sense of story and motivation to write. We suggest a reciprocity of thinking between the building and composing processes. Preschoolers’ story ideas, we deduce, were conceptualized and rehearsed in the block corner. We illustrate the power of emergent literacy learners to construct understandings of the world with the support and guidance of their teacher, using inquiry based and arts infused approaches to teaching and learning.

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Originally published in Language and Literacy Spectrum, 27(1) [Article 4]. © 2017 Digital Commons at Buffalo State. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. The original material can be found here.