School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Russell Yocum


writing instruction, color cues, elementary teachers, preattentive processing


Curriculum and Instruction | Elementary Education


In this case study, I focused on understanding how primary grade school teachers in public schools in the United States use colors during writing instruction. During literacy instruction, the teacher communicates how to perform the writing process for students to become effective writers. Primary grade school teachers described how and why they use colors during writing instruction and how they learned to use colors for writing instruction and to assess their students’ writing. The theory guiding this study is Jerome Bruner’s instructional theory, supported by Cambourne’s conditions for literacy learning and the sociocultural writing theory. Data were collected through individual interviews, examining teacher-created documents developed during writing instruction, and observations of teachers using colors to provide writing instruction. To create a comprehensive description of each case, the data were first analyzed using a within-case analysis followed by a cross-case analysis. Similarities and differences between the teachers’ experiences regarding using colors during writing instruction were identified during the cross-case analysis. Twelve primary grade school teachers who work at public schools in the United States participated in this study. They provided more than 50 documents that they had created during writing instruction, even though they expressed having limited training. While participants had not received any training on how to use colors, they used colors during writing instruction in numerous ways to help students to discriminate between things, which makes writing easier for the students.