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Language in Society

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Early childhood education -- Curricula


An investigation into the interactive features of small group, child-led storytelling in preschool classrooms serving lower socioeconomic status (SES), multilingual children shows both the affordances and constraints of positioning children to author their own experiences in the classroom. In story circles, children told stories which included canonical instantiations of story and culturally-shaped features. Through their stories, the children advanced ideas, built connections, and evaluated ways of telling stories as they continued ideas like threads from story to story. Child-led storytelling did not disrupt the dynamics of power through which some ways of using language are privileged while others are marginalized. Instead, story circles simply shifted children’ relationship to the process of being and becoming literate such that children did the evaluating, valuing, and promoting of ways of using language, developing literate identities, but potentially forestalling some ways of participating even as shared interactional norms were developed.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Language in Society. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published, Flynn, E. E. (2018). Ideas in dialogue: Leveraging the power of child-led storytelling in the multicultural preschool classroom. Language in Society, 47(4), 601-633. This is available online at:


10.1017/ S0047404518000593

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