Northern Oral Language and Writing Through Play

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Publications and Grants

Newest Publication:

Creative Collaborative Curriculum Activities Book 2018

We are very excited to announce the second edition publication of an entire collection of artifacts in the NOW Play Book of Creative Collaborative Curriculum Activities. The activities in this collection were produced by teachers and partners in the NOW Play Project to promote playful learning for kids in kindergarten to grade 2. Check out the dozens of ideas to bring into your classroom or learning centre today!

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Play Focus

Kim, M. & Peterson, S.S. (2018) Play-Based Intervention Supporting Kindergarten Children’s Language in a Northern Ontario First Nations Community. Master of Teaching Research Journal, Inaugural Issue, 1-11.

Peterson, S.S., Anderson, J., Kendrick, M., McTavish, M., Budd, K., Mayer, D., McIntyre, L.J., Ntelioglou, B.Y., & Riehl, D. (2016). Examining rhetorics of play in curricula in five provinces: Is play at risk in Canadian kindergartens? [PDF file]. Canadian Journal of Education39(3), 1-26. Retrieved from

Peterson, S.S., Eisazadeh, N., Rajendram, S., & Portier, C. (2018) Young children’s language uses during play and implications for classroom assessment. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 43(2), 23-31.

Peterson, S.S., Forsyth, D., & McIntyre, L. (2015). Balancing play-based learning with curricular mandates—Considering the views of northern Canadian teachers and early childhood educators. Canadian Children, 40(3), 40-47.

Peterson, S.S., Madsen, A., San Miguel, J., & Jang, S.Y. (2016). Children’s rough and tumble play: Perspectives of teachers in northern Canadian Indigenous communitiesEarly Years, 1-15.

Peterson, S.S., Portier, C., & Murray, A. (2017). The role of play at home and in kindergarten and grade one: Parents’ perceptions.  Journal of Childhood Studies, 42(1), 1-10.

Peterson, S.S., & Riehl, D. (2016). Rhetorics of play in kindergarten curricula in an era of accountability. Brock Education Journal, 25(2), 22-34.

Wajskop, G. (2017). “Literate Playing”—An Oral Language Empowerment Strategy for Underprivileged Children. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 33-50.

Wajskop, G., & Peterson, S.S. (2016). Literatura infantil, brincadeiras e experiências narrativas. [Children’s literature, plays and narratives experiences].  Revista Patio – Educação Infantil, 46. 

Wajskop, G., & Peterson, S.S. (2015). Dramatic play as a meaning-making and story-making activityEarly Childhood Education, 43(1), 17-20.

Writing Focus

Friedrich, N., Wishart, K., & Peterson, S.S. (2018). Supporting emergent writers through guided play in a kindergarten classroomJournal of Childhood Studies, 3(2), 58-64.

Parr, J. (2017). Early writers in northern communities: Ways teachers might view and reflect on writers’ representations. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 90-108.

Peterson, S.S., Grimes, A. (2018). Authentic writing in children’s lives outside school. Early Childhood Education, 45(1), 20-25.

Peterson, S.S., McIntyre, L., & Forsyth, D. (2016). Supporting young children’s oral language and writing development: Teachers’ and early childhood educators’ goals and practices. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41(3), 11-19.

Peterson, S.S., Parr, J., Lindgren, E., & Kaufman, D. (2018). Conceptualizations of writing in early years curricula and standards documents: International perspectives. The Curriculum Journal, online.

Peterson, S.S., & Portier, C. (2016). Teaching vocabulary and writing in kindergarten through dramatic play centers. Colorado Reading Journal, 27, 25-32.

Peterson, S.S. (2015). Dramatic play supports children’s writing in kindergarten and grade oneMichigan Reading Journal, 48(1), 44-48.

Peterson, S.S. (2015). Supporting primary students’ writing through reading, talk, and literate dramatic play in primary classrooms. Sargent, S. E. (Ed.). The Oklahoma Reader, 51(1), 22-24.

Oral and Nonverbal Communication Focus

Damhuis, R., & van der Zalm, E. (2017). A provocative approach for communication with low-proficient children: Examining how the interactive role of teachers and children changes. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 51-71.

Eisazadeh, N., Rajendram, S., Portier, C., & Peterson, S.S. (2017). Indigenous children’s use of language during play in rural northern Canadian kindergarten classroomsLiteracy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 22, 1-16.

McIntyre, L.J., Hellsten, L.M., Bidonde, J., Boden, C., & Doi, C. (2017). Receptive and expressive English language assessments used for young children: A scoping review protocolSystematic Reviews,6:70. doi:10.1186/s13643-017-0471-1.

Ntelioglou, B.Y., & Peterson, S.S. (2017). Exploring language, literacy, and identity connections through play-based education in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 1-3.

Peterson, S.S., & Greenberg, J. (2017). Teacher intervention to support oral language and literacy in dramatic play contextsTexas Reading Association Journal, 5(1), 10-23.

Peterson, S.S., Rajendram, S., & Eisazadeh, N. (2017). Multimodal meaning-making during play in two Northern Canadian Indigenous kindergarten classrooms, Early Years: An International Research Journal, DOI: 10.1080/09575146.2017.1384994

Portier, C., & Peterson, S.S. (2017). Rural northern Canadian teachers’ discoveries about young children’s oral languageLanguage and Literacy, 19(2), 109-126.

Yaman Ntelioglou, B., Peterson, S.S., & McIntyre, L.J. (2017). NOW Play: Northern oral language and writing through play. Research Connections 3(4), n. pag.

Peterson, S.S. (2016). Developing a play-based communication assessment through collaborative action research with teachers in northern Canadian Indigenous communities. Literacy, 51(1), 36-43.

Peterson, S.S. (2016). Research in Canada’s northern rural and Indigenous communities: Supporting young children’s oral language and writing. The Reading Teacher, 70(3), 383-387.

Peterson, S.S. (2016). Supporting young children’s vocabulary through play. What Works? Research into Practice, 62, 1-4.

Peterson, S.S., & Malec, A. (2016). Assessing children’s use of language in dramatic play contexts. Tobin, M.T. (Ed.). The Florida Reading Journal,  51(3), 7-13.

Collaborative Action Research with Indigenous Schools

Anderson, J., Horton, L., Kendrick, M., & McTavish, M. (2017). Children’s funds of knowledge in a rural northern Canadian community: A telling case. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 20-32.

Peltier, S. (2017). An Anishinaabe perspective on children’s language learning to inform “Seeing the Aboriginal Child”. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 4-19.

Peterson, S.S., Gardner, T., Ings, E., & Vecchio, K. (2018) Dramatic Play in Northern Aboriginal Head Start Classrooms – Supporting Indigenous Children’s Learning of their Culture and LanguageECE Link 2(1), 35-44.

Peterson, S.S., Jang, S.Y., San Miguel, J., Styres, S., & Madsen, A. (2018). Infusing Indigenous knowledge and epistemologies: Learning from teachers in northern Aboriginal Headstart classrooms. McGill Journal of Education, 53(1), 26-46.

Peterson, S.S., McIntyre, L., & Glaés-Coutts, L. (2017). Collaborative action research in Northern Canadian rural and Indigenous schools: Learning about young children’s oral language in play contexts. Educational Action Research, DOI: 10.1080/09650792.2017.1402686

Peterson, S.S., Horton, L., & Restoule, J.P. (2016). Toward a shift in expectations and values: What we’ve learned from collaborative action research in northern Indigenous communities.Canadian Journal of Action Research17(2), 19-32.

Williamson, J., & Hedges, H. (2017). Empowering language: Lenses of knowing, being and doing. Language and Literacy, 19(2), 72-89.


McIntyre, L.J. (Principal Investigator), & Hellsten, L. (Co-Investigator). (2016, March). Community-Based Observation Laboratory (COL; CFI #34994). $84,958. John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF*), The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

*Note: “JELF offers institutions the opportunity to: acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research; and create competitive research support packages in the form of infrastructure and a portion of the operating and maintenance costs from the CFI, coupled with direct research costs from partner organizations” (CFI, para. 1, see

Peterson, S.S., Anderson, D., Linklater, A., Links, K., & Skowronek., D. Dynamic Assessment of Aboriginal Children’s Speech-Language Abilities. $10,000. CIHR Grant.

 Peterson, S.S., Portier, C. Supporting Young Children’s Oral Language and Writing in Northern and Indigenous Communities. $22,842. SSHRC Connection Grant.