Moves that matter: dialogic writing assessment and literary reading

Sarah W. Beck, Karis Jones, Scott Storm, J. Roman Torres, Holly Smith, Meghan Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to explore and provide empirical evidence for ways that teachers can simultaneously support students’ literary reading and analytic writing through dialogic assessment, an approach to conferencing with writers that foregrounds process and integrates assessment and instruction. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses qualitative research methods of three high school teachers’ dialogic assessment sessions with individual students to investigate how these teachers both assessed and taught literary reading moves as they observed and supported the students’ writing. An expanded version of Rainey’s (2017) scheme for coding literary reading practices was used. Findings: The three teachers varied in the range and extent of literary reading practices they taught and supported. The practices that they most commonly modeled or otherwise supported were making claims, seeking patterns and articulating puzzles. The variation we observed in their literary reading practices may be attributed to institutional characteristics of the teachers’ contexts. Research limitations/implications: This study illustrates how the concept of prolepsis can be productively used as a lens through which to understand teachers’ instructional choices. Practical implications: The descriptive findings show how individualized coaching of students’ writing about literature can also support literary reading. Teachers of English need not worry that they have to choose between teaching writing and teaching reading. Originality/value: This study presents dialogic assessment as a useful way to guide students through the writing process and literary interpretation simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEnglish Teaching
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 31 2021


  • Dialogic teaching
  • Disciplinary literacy
  • Literary reading
  • Literature instruction
  • Process approach to writing instruction
  • Writing conferences
  • Writing instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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