Harry Potter and the Critical gaze: Autonomy pathways in literary response writing

  • Glenn Jackson University of Georgia
Keywords: dimension of Autonomy


This study investigates knowledge-building in student writing from a critical literary response unit in an 8th grade English language arts (ELA) classroom in the southeastern United States. This paper offers a detailed analysis of an exemplary essay in the data set, using concepts from Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) to explore the extent to which the student writing related to the targeted content and purpose of the task. The analysis uses concepts from the dimension of Autonomy to describe the ways student writers brought together information from the literary texts and from beyond the prompt and source texts to support their interpretations of the characters. The findings offer a means for understanding the ways different pathways can support students in recognizing and realizing the dispositions towards the texts and to broader cultural issues in ways that align with disciplinary literacy practices.