This week’s #WritingRocks was about explicitly teaching the writing processes to children with a view to them creating and then using their own personalised process independently. This is because research has, for a long time, advocated for such an approach when teaching apprentice writers:
- The first thing to state is that Writing For Pleasure teachers are likely to know that there isn’t really a single agreed upon writing process.
- With this said, Writing For Pleasure teachers will also know that many children are unaware of typical processes involved in writing and they may not, at first, be able to control all aspects of the writing process at once. As a result, Writing For Pleasure teachers will likely teach children how to prioritise writing processes. This strategy can be modelled and involves showing children that when producing a piece of writing not all writing processes have to applied at the same time and in fact this can be too demanding (Locke, 2015, p.162)! Instead focus on one process at a time. For example, when drafting, children can focus on the composition of their manuscript and proof-read and edit it at another time.
- Writing For Pleasure teachers will therefore teach the writing processes and the vocabulary surrounding them (generating ideas, planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, sharing and performing) explicitly with a view to increasing children’s flexibly and independent use of them. Particular focus will be given to the recursive nature of these processes too (see below):
Any writing classroom that fails to eventually recognise and promote the recursive nature of these processes and instead looks for children to undertake these processes in order and without socialising with other writers and on demand will ultimately run into difficulties.
Writing For Pleasure teachers will ensure that their writing environment, direct instruction, resources and displays are always looking to promote self-regulation, self-efficacy and a development and personalisation of these writing processes.
- Once experienced enough and as their repertoire of writing skills enlarges, children will begin to automatically re-read and improve their work as they compose. They may start to change their plans as they compose. They might even revise as they draft and perhaps they will undertake editing on a sentence they’ve just written. All automatically and unconsciously. Additionally, children will learn to be discerning about their writing and whether a project is worth pursuing through to publication or not.
- A number of studies have recognised the benefits of this process-oriented approach to writing instruction. The writing process approach, with its links to the writing-workshop movement (Graves, 1983; Calkins 1998; Atwell, 2014), focuses on writers and how to do the things in the classroom that professional writers do. The process writing approach is best defined as being the marriage between the best of ‘writers’ workshop’ with direct instruction and the concept of ‘self-regulating strategy development‘.
- Process writing ensures children engage in phases of idea generation, planning, drafting, revising, editing, and importantly, publishing, sharing and performing. Publishing will be a particular focus because of its connection with feeling a sense of satisfaction from producing a final written product.
Obvious Links To Other Writing For Pleasure Manifesto Principles:
The explicit teaching of the writing processes promotes Writing For Pleasure in a number of ways:
- It promotes the idea of self-efficacy because it helps apprentice writers to picture themselves realising their writing intentions.
- It promotes a feeling of agency. Once experienced enough with the different processes and what they involve, children can control their own writing process.
- It can increase children’s motivation. They can see where their writing is leading to and they will be better able to set themselves specific writing-process goals which they will know how to achieve.
- It massively supports children’s self-regulation. Over time, apprentice writers will certainly gain a feeling of independence from external intervention and scaffolding.
- It will increase their writer-identity. Developing writing processes alongside a feeling of belonging and having an affinity with writing, allows children to feel part of a community where they can talk, craft and undertake the behaviours of professional writers in a feeling of safety and understanding.
If you found this article interesting, you should also read:
- Teaching Writing: Research Summaries With Easy Access
- Meeting Children Where They Are: Using Pupil Conferencing
- How We Created Self-Regulating Writers And The Improvements We Have Seen
- Is The Trick In The Publishing? Reflecting On Why The Children Are Writing With Such Care & Attention.
- Planning Authentic & Purposeful Writing Projects
- Building A Writing Community: Children Reading, Sharing And Talking About Writing
- What Teacher Do To Make Every Child Feel Like A Writer
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