In our recent study, upper elementary students engaged in reading and writing outside the box when presented with novels that included character-writers. Students of varying backgrounds and ability levels revealed close connections and wide-ranging responses to authors and characters. These students accomplished three outcomes as they read, wrote, and discussed novels including characters portrayed as writers (character-writers). First, the students imitated the writing styles and genres of the authors and characters. Second, the students continued writing for themselves and others. Third, the students produced work of greater quality than they previously presented in their school journals. In this article, we illustrate one method that teachers of adolescents may initiate to engage adolescents in relevant curriculum. It is based on a study to answer the following research questions: 1. How do character-writers influence students' interest in writing, the amount of writing, and the quality of writing? 2. What other characteristics of these books do students report as influential or motivating in regard to writing?
Pelttari, Carole and Marchetti, Jan, "Expanding the Box: Characters Lead the Way" (2017). Education and Human Development Faculty Publications. 21.
Pelttari, C. & Marchetti, J. (2017). Expanding the box: Characters lead the way. The NERA Journal, 52(1), 58-68.
This article first appeared in The NERA Journal and is reproduced here with their permission.