These supports are gradually removed as students develop autonomy learning strategies, thus promoting their own cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning skills and knowledge. Teachers help the students master a task or a concept by providing support. The support can take many forms such as outlines, recommended documents, storyboards, or key questions.
Children use oral language as a vehicle for discovering and negotiating emergent written language and understandings for getting meaning on paper (Cox, 1994; Dyson, 1983, 1991). Writing and speech as tools can lead to discovery of new thinking. The teacher offers levels of verbal and non-verbal demonstrations and directions as the child observes, mimics, or shares the writing task. With increased understanding and control, the child needs less assistance. The teacher’s level and type of support change over time from directive, to suggestion, to encouragement, to observation. Optimum scaffolds adapt to the child’s tempo moving from other-regulation to self-regulation. The child eventually provides self-scaffolding through internal thought (Wertsch, 1985). Within these scaffolding events, teaching and learning, inseparable components, emphasize both the child’s personal construction of literacy and the adult’s contributions to the child’s developing understandings of print. The child contributes what she can and the adult contributes so as to sustain the task (Teale & Sulzby, 1986).
Using a Vygotskian theoretical framework, Wertsch and Stone (1984) examine scaffolded instruction in a one-to-one remedial clinic setting with a learning disabled child. The researchers show how adult language directs the child to strategically monitor actions. Analysis of communicative patterns show a transition and progression in the source of strategic responsibility from teacher or other-regulated to child or self-regulated behaviors. In Vygotsky’s words, “what the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow” (Vygotsky, 1987, p. 211).
Some ingredients of scaffolding are predictability, playfulness, focus on meaning, role reversal, modeling, and nomenclature.
Cazden, C. B. (1983). Adult assistance to language development: Scaffolds, models, and direct instruction. In R. P. Parker & F. A. Davis (Eds.), Developing literacy: Young children's use of language (pp. 3-17). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Clay, M. M. (2005). Literacy lessons designed for individuals: Teaching procedures. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Cox, B. E. (1994). Young children’s regulatory talk: Evidence of emerging metacognitive control over literary products and processes. In R. B. Ruddell, M. R. Ruddell, & H. Singer (Eds.), Theoretical models and process of reading (pp. 733-756). Newark, DE: IRA.
Dorn, L. (1996). A Vygotskian perspective on literacy acquisition: Talk and action in the child's construction of literate awareness. Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Reading and Writing, 2(2), 15-40.
Dyson, A. H. (1983). The role of oral language in early writing process. Research in the Teaching of English, 17(1), 1-30.
Dyson, A. H. (1991). Viewpoints: The word and the world - reconceptualizing written language development or do rainbows mean a lot to little girls? Research in the Teaching of English, 25, 97-123.
Luria, A. R. (1983). The development of writing in the child. In M. Martlew (Ed.), The psychology of written language: Developmental and educational perspectives (pp.237-277). New York: Wiley.
Rodgers, E. M. (2004). Interactions that scaffold reading performance. Journal of Literacy Research, 36(4), 501-532.
Smagorinsky, P. (2007). Vygotsky and the social dynamic of classrooms. English Journal, 97(2), 61-66.
Teale, W. H. & Sulzby, E. (Eds.). (1986). Emergent literacy: Writing and reading. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). Thinking and speech. In L. S. Vygotsky, Collected works (vol. 1, pp. 39-285) (R. Rieber & A. Carton, Eds; N. Minick, Trans.). New York: Plenum. (Original works published in 1934, 1960).
Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wertsch, J. V. & Stone, C. (1984). A social interactional analysis of learning disabilities remediation. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 17(4), 194-199.
Wood, D. J., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 17(2), 89-100.