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The writing process is an activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper or composing text. Giving children the gift of expression through writing enables them to experience the path of purpose, intention and engagement. Writing enables children to have a voice, a place in the world where they will exceed boundaries and use their imagination of stories and poems to the greatest of their potential.
The development of writing happens at an early age. Children come to school, being able to make marks on a piece of paper. With the right support and teaching, a 'mark' can transform into a 'paragraph'.
Children are submerged in literature and are surrounded by print and letters almost every day. The nature of writing has changed a lot due to technological developments for example from pen and paper to word processor. With the full recognition that writing is a versatile activity, teachers should use several principles that will guide children to become successful writers.
Writing and reading are related. 'Reading and writing are, as Vygotsky suggests, two halves of the same process' (Barrs & Cork, 2002). Therefore, the two skills reinforce and strengthen each other and in order to understand the relationship, it's important to realise the writer's inner speech and the personal nature of this communication when reading.
Children who read more have a much easier time grasping the knowledge that is needed to write. This is because it is helpful to read a variety of genres as children learn text structures and language, which can be transferred to their own writing. Evidence has suggested that when a class teacher reads a story, he/she should consider the tension and pace of the story as well as the characters feelings because this will encourage the children to be engaged in the story and use descriptive words in their own writing.
Writing can also help pupils become better readers. In their initial writing knowledge, children listen for the relationship of sounds and letters, which link to phonics. Although, reading can aid spelling, children should be given the opportunity to express their ideas freely, without the worry. Therefore, reading is a vital source of information because it creates the ideas which can be used to write. In addition, a key skill to enhance children's writing is to encourage then to write like the reader and read like the writer.
There are essential ingredients that need to be studied when writing. This includes compositional writing; the children think about what they want to write using their imagination, plan their thoughts and understand the effects this will have on the reader. This is seen as the creative part of writing.
Additionally, transcriptional writing is the more formal kind of writing. Deciding how the story will end, thinking of the best words or phrases to use and choosing the right way to spell them are all the physical demands of writing. The writer also has to consider grammar and punctuation.
The National Curriculum for English states that children in primary school 'begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds' (DfE, 2011).
Pupils should be taught the significance of writing in primary school. They should be required to connect speech and writing and differentiate between print and images. It is also necessary for children to use vocabulary, language and style that are appropriate to readers.
Due to planning and drafting being compositional, an individual notes ideas and composes what structure of written text they are going to use. In addition, revision, proof reading and the presentation of work is transcriptional because it allows the individual to check for any errors in the form of grammar and spellings and then submit the writing.
For writing to be successful in a child's development, effective strategies will need to be considered when teaching. 'Talk for Writing' focuses on capturing children's ideas once they are secure with the text and genre. At this stage of the writing process children are able to explore writing through; imitation - where the pupils experience and learn a text orally, innovation - which consists of the writer adapting the text to create something new and invention - where patterns are transferred, structures and the themes are included in writing.
Gaining confidence as a writer is essential if the correct classroom principles are put into practice. Writing can increase a child's independence and influence them to continue writing for the future. There is a nature and craft of writing which, with time and effort will lead to a community of writers.
After writing becomes essential, it is a good idea for teachers to consider verbs, nouns, adjectives and sentence structures e.g. clauses, connectives and simple/ complex sentences. The skills to write are very complex, therefore teachers must model and demonstrate particular examples so that the children can enhance their writing. Teachers should also ensure that children understand the purpose of writing (why) and the audience (who). A great activity is guided writing whereby the teacher works with a group of children and looks at specific needs in writing such as indication of where narrative speech can be used or using language for persuasive arguments.
Children should have the chance to write freely about whatever they desire and whatever form they chose as this increase their independence. The addition of a writing corner in a classroom can engage children's writing as they are able to play around and gain inspiration. This makes use of the different materials that are on offer for writing. Moreover, children should enjoy writing and so teachers should construct lessons that emphasise this development. Research has also informed teachers that boys and girls have different writing preferences; therefore free writing is good practice to judge what kind of writing they benefit from.
Shared writing is when the teacher demonstrates to the class how to write a particular sort of text - discussing what he or she is doing, and why through a running commentary. The teacher should go through each sentence orally before writing, pointing out choices about vocabulary and word order - demonstrating that composition requires reflection. Then writing the sentence enables children to draw their attention to punctuation and how it contributes to the effect. Finally, with the whole class the teacher reads back what they have written together to check how it sounds and perhaps make any improvements.
Another principle based on theory which enhances writing is when the teacher involves the pupils in word choices and composition. This technique allows the teacher to scribe suggestions from the whole class. Also, the teacher can support writing by giving each pair a whiteboard and marker. The teacher hands over the responsibility of a sentence to the class. In pairs, the children construct their own sentences using the themes discussed in class and use the whiteboards for the teacher to see their writing. The teacher can then decide how much more shared work is necessary. Once pupils have been given a detailed education in how to write through the shared writing lesson, they are ready to move on to independent writing.
Overall, with the appropriate teaching and learning strategies, children can develop and enhance their writing. As Margret Meek explains the development of writing is important because:
'Writing extends our awareness, broadens our consciousness. It lets us encompass what we know and understand by bringing what we seem to be telling ourselves into a form of language that we can inspect, think about. Writing makes us reflect and express our thoughts' (Meek, M 1991).
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