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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Seeing the World Through Words: A Student Writer’s Journey toward Developing Her Own Voice


This paper is a self-study that uses the lens of Vygotsky’s four phases of sign acquisition to examine one student writer’s development of voice through writing produced from 5th grade through her second year of graduate school (17 years). Growing up as a twin—and as a visually impaired individual—the author learned how to use the written word to help her imagine those aspects of the world that she could not physically see. Through excerpts from journal entries, planning documents, short stories, long fiction, poetry, school assignments, and fanfiction she traces her growth as a writer within the shifting context of experiences within and outside of school. Her sensitive exploration of varied sources of motivation and inspiration, along with her own changing attitudes towards and beliefs about writing, provide the reader with fresh insight into all that goes into one’s development as a writer.

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