Using Interactive Fiction to Stimulate Metalinguistic Talk in the English Classroom

Holdstock, Samuel. 2024. Using Interactive Fiction to Stimulate Metalinguistic Talk in the English Classroom. Literacy, 58(1), pp. 48-57. ISSN 1741-4350 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Interactive Fiction (IF)—a digital form of non-linear narrative writing—requires readers to respond, to make choices that shape their reading experience. I argue that such choices can be put to use in the classroom, helping teachers to facilitate metalinguistic talk. In this article, I offer a clear conceptualisation of metalinguistic talk, drawing upon existing research to create a useful framework comprised of four characteristics. Using this framework, and with reference to interview data and field notes, I analyse and consider two transcripts of classroom talk in order to explore the extent to which a particular work of IF enabled me to facilitate metalinguistic talk with a class of 16–17-year-old English Literature students. The lesson in question formed part of an action research project exploring the possibilities for IF in the secondary school English classroom. I argue that the choices contained within A Great Gatsby, a work of IF which I designed via a process of critical-creative textual intervention and using Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby as my source material, can help to scaffold metalinguistic talk—conversations about language.

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Additional Information:

This work was supported by a bursary from the Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London.


action research, critical-creativity, interactive fiction, metalinguistic talk, textual intervention

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies
Educational Studies > Centre for Language, Culture and Learning


20 July 2023Accepted
14 August 2023Published Online
January 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Aug 2023 12:04

Last Modified:

26 Apr 2024 15:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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