The purpose of this multi case study was to better understand voice in first grade science writing. Voice is the ability for individuals to synchronize specific narrative elements to express themselves with greater confidence and individuality. Three first-grade participants were chosen and their use of voice in science writing was examined across 8 weeks. Specific elements of voice were identified within atypical informational texts for primary grade learners in science. The 7 elements include descriptive words, placement of text and picture, creative punctuation, conversational tone, comparisons, imagery, and repeated text. The 7 voice elements were taught to a class of first-grade students. Findings from this study reveal that first graders can use descriptive words, creative punctuation, and conversational tone in their writing with great success before being formally taught, which indicates that these first graders are comfortable using these voice elements in their writing. These first graders also use text and picture placement, comparisons, and imagery prior to the weeks they are taught but with limited success. These first graders do not use repeated text until being formally taught, which indicates that it is a difficult voice element for them to include in science writing. Hand signals prove to be effective in helping these young children grasp the voice elements. Lessons used in the study are included. Mentor texts with examples of voice elements that children emulated during the study are also included and are helpful for these students. In addition to writing with words, these first graders also convey important information through their pictures. These young students can accomplish the requirements found in the Common Core State Standards to provide an opening, supply 3 facts about a subject, and write a conclusion. However, they can do this with a quality of voice that was not present in their writing prior to the unit.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





mentor text, science, writing, early childhood, voice, first grade