Cover: Gnys at Wrk in PAPERBACK

Gnys at Wrk

A Child Learns to Write and Read

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$42.00 • £33.95 • €38.00

ISBN 9780674354906

Publication Date: 10/15/1985

Short

240 pages

6 x 9-1/4 inches

12 line-art, 1 halftone

World

Related Subjects

When he was five and a half years old, Paul Bissex wrote and posted this sign over his workbench: DO NAT DSTRB GNYS AT WRK. The “work” from which this “genius” refused to be “disturbed” was the work typical of all children, namely, the task of learning how to write and read. In Gnys at Wrk, Glenda Bissex goes far beyond the chronicle of her son’s accomplishment to provide the first in-depth case study of a child’s confrontation with written language, rich in revelations about the nature and processes of the mind.

Paul begins by writing notes in a system of his own invention—like IEAVGAWNTOOTHESTOR for “I have gone to the store”—and this system becomes more elaborate as he goes on to create stories, games and signs. Eventually, the system merges with conventional written English as Paul learns to separate words and to associate letters not with their names but with sets of possible sounds.

Glenda Bissex shows how the evolution of Paul’s writing ability is closely intertwined with his reading development—in Paul’s own words, “once you can write a word you can read it.“ She also makes an intriguing comparison between Paul’s schoolwork and his endeavors at home, and explores the influence of his personal interests and world view on his facility with words. Her study is a unique, detailed account of the “genius” that is, quite simply, the human capacity for language.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene