Don’t underestimate the power of publishing: it’s the key to high-quality independent writing.
As part of our independent writers blog series, we’ve been reflecting on why the children in our class write the way they do.
We recently asked the children why they take so much care over the editing of their pieces – particularly their spellings and it was interesting to hear their responses.
- More people will read your writing.
- Improves my writing for the people who read it.
- I don’t do it for you – I do it for my readers.
- I want my reader to read it all.
- I want everyone in the class to understand it.
Then one of our students said this:
- If I know it’s not going into the class-library, I wouldn’t bother to edit it so well.
Then the children started reflecting on how writing was taught to them in their previous years:
- We were writing for nothing.
- I would have been better if we’d been able to publish.
- We couldn’t do anything with our writing.
- We did neat copies but no one saw them.
- I didn’t know what publishing was.
I then asked who would still edit their work carefully if they knew it wasn’t going to be published. Only 5/33 said they would. The reasons why they still would were that it would ‘help them for the future’ (as opposed to the present!) or that they would do it for their own sense of satisfaction. Worryingly though were the 28/33 that said they wouldn’t bother to edit so well. 25/33 said that they edited well because they knew their friends would be reading it. Perhaps this is why you’re not getting the writing outcomes you want from the children in your class?
Interestingly, 30/33 of my class wished they had been taught how to proof-read, edit and publish earlier than year 5.
31/33 of my pupils believed it was important for their writing development that they be allowed to publish work into the class book stock. Only 2/33 said they didn’t mind if their work stayed within their literacy books alone.
We didn’t touch on the impact publishing must also have on their desire to compose great pieces, but if one takes the view that children generally consider editing to be the least enjoyable and interesting part of writing and yet they have such a conscientious attitude towards it when they are allowed to publish – then we can reasonably assume that publishing makes a massive difference to children’s writing outcomes more generally too.
The CLPE (2000) also state that publish can improve children’s attention towards spelling and is legitimate and worthwhile handwriting activity.
So if you want your children to write with a bit more care and attention, you should consider allowing them to regularly publish their writing into your class library.
In our class, we have anthologies for the different genres the children tend to write in – these include:
- Information Texts,
- Book Reviews,
- Match Reports,
You can read more about how we get the children to edit their work by going here.
To find out more about our approach to teaching writing, which we call ‘Real-World Literacy’, you can follow this link.
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