Funding K-12 Writing Research(ers) through the ISU Writing Program

The Illinois State Writing Program has recently provided research grants for three students at Washington Middle School, in Washington Illinois, to conduct writing research projects.  The Writing Program regularly provides mini-grants (up to $100.00) to instructors and students in ENG 101 and ENG 145 to support classroom writing research projects, but supporting writing research for 8th graders is something new for the Writing Program. The grants provided to Deb Riggert-Keiffer’s 8th grade students will fund work on a poster campaign, a children’s picture book, and a computer app project. The poster campaign is designed to explain a CHAT (Cultural-Historical Activity Theory) approach to writing to middle school students, and the book project does the same work through the creation of a student-illustrated picture book. The third project focuses on designing and building an app for middle school writers. Although only three students’ proposals were accepted for funding, all of 43 students in Deb’s class will be involved in creating these projects, and they will be supported by three ISU Writing Program graduate assistants, who will serve as ISU liaisons for the project. Deb Riggert-Keiffer, also a Ph.d. candidate in English Studies at ISU, developed the project with Dr. Joyce Walker, The Writing Program Director.  In preparation for composing the projects, students will complete extensive genre research and create writing “research writer’s reports” on their work. The projects will be completed during spring 2016. Results will be posted to the ISU Writing Program’s website:

On Friday, March 18, 2016, students from Washington Middle School attended the Spreading Roots Colloquium to share their writing research projects funded by the ISU Writing Program. Check out part of the presentation here.