First published in 1982, this influential and classic text poses two questions: what is it that a child learns when he or she learns to write? What can we learn about children, society and ourselves, by looking at this process? The book is based on a close analysis of a series of written texts by primary school children and is written for student teachers with little or no knowledge of linguistics. In this new edition, Gunther Kress has made extensive revisions in the light of recent developments in linguistics and in education.
The theoretical focus is now a social semiotic one, which allows a fundamental rethinking of issues such as 'preliteracy' and broad social and cultural questions around the making of texts.