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Children’s Use of Analogy During Collaborative Reasoning


  • The research reported in this article was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grants and R305T010250, R305G030070, and R305A080347 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

  • The analysis reported in this article is based on a set of video transcripts also used in Li et al. (2007)—Emergent Leadership in Children’s Discussion Groups—and Jadallah et al. (2011)—Influence of a Teacher’s Scaffolding Moves During Child-Led Small-Group Discussions.

concerning this article should be addressed to Tzu-Jung Lin or Richard C. Anderson, Center for the Study of Reading, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820. Electronic mail may be sent to or


This microgenetic study examined social influences on children’s development of analogical reasoning during peer-led small-group discussions of stories about controversial issues. A total of 277 analogies were identified among 7,215 child turns for speaking during 54 discussions from 18 discussion groups in 6 fourth-grade classrooms (N = 120; age = 10.0, SD = 0.6). Use of analogy was found to spread among the children in discussion groups and occur at an accelerating rate, primarily because of the increasing use of novel analogies. Relational analogies with shared surface features triggered purely relational analogies during the next 2 speaking turns, showing a trend of relational shift. These results provide distinctive new evidence for the importance of social interaction in an aspect of cognitive development.