National Literacy Trust’s Annual Survey Reveals That A Writing For Pleasure Pedagogy Is Needed Now More Than Ever.

The headline from this year’s National Literacy Trust’s survey into young people’s attitudes towards writing is unsurprising but increasingly concerning.

For a number of years now we have used the trust’s annual survey, which focuses on responses from over 40,000 apprentice writers, to make the case for a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.

Throughout these years, we have seen that young people have either an indifference or a dislike for writing but this year it has climbed to over 50%. We also have 40% of children who only ever write when they have to. This is quite staggering.

Obviously, the only way you can stop apprentice writers from learning to write and liking it (in this densely verbal and social culture in which we live) is to teach it the way we currently teach it. Imagine for a moment that these statistics were related to talk and that 50% of young people were indifferent about talking and sharing their thoughts and expertise with their teacher and/or peers. This would be cause for a national crisis surely? You would also have to question how children are being put off so dramatically to do what comes quite naturally.

Daily writing levels have been falling since the survey first began and this year they have reached their lowest ever with less than 20% of apprentice writers writing anything that wasn’t directly for school purposes.

  • Again, despite our densely verbal and social culture, over half of apprentice writers are lead to believe that they find it hard to decide what to write.
  • 1/5 young people believe writing to be a difficult task.
  • Only around 40% of apprentice writers believe writing to be a fun activity.
  • Attitudes towards writing have been in decline ever since the release of the new National Curriculum in 2014.

Are pedagogies which are simply ‘schooling’ children and not based on effective practice having an adverse effect on children’s attitudes and educational outcomes?

In response, and working with the National Literacy Trust, we have produced a number of resources to help you build a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy. These can be downloaded from their website here: National Literacy Trust: Writing For Pleasure Resources

Writing For Pleasure is based on 14 research-informed principles which not only cover the very best effective practices but also happen to be the most affective ones too!

You can read our Writing For Pleasure manifesto here: Writing For Pleasure Manifesto

You can also download and read their full report here: Full Report

We invite comments below. Let’s start a conversation.

Please support us by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button in the top-right corner (or if you’re on a tablet or smartphone at the bottom of the screen).

You can also join and contribute to the Writing For Pleasure community by following us at @WritingRocks_17

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Join Us For Our FIRST Ever Writing For Pleasure Conference

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Dear Writing For Pleasure friends.

It is with great pleasure to announce our first ever Writing For Pleasure conference. It will take place on Friday the 13th of July at Canterbury Christ Church University. We have a truly unbelievable line-up to. We hope you’re as excited as we are!

We suggest you book your ticket now by visiting –> 

By emailing for a ticket directly here: primaryenglishresearchhub@gmail.com

Alternatively, you can make a phone booking here: 01303257280

Here’s the current line-up with even more wonderful people to be confirmed!

  • Tracy Parvin (UK Literacy Association President) will give an introductory talk.

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  • We will be giving a keynote speech about our Writing For Pleasure manifesto and going into detail about the 14 principles that make a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy affective and effective teaching practice.

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  • Piers Torday will be discussing what Writing For Pleasure means from the perspective of a children’s author.

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  • Our final keynote will be from Michael Rosen. He will be discussing his knowledge and expertise on what Writing For Pleasure can look like in the classroom. This is likely to be informed by his recent publication on the same subject.

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  • We also have workshops from Martin Galway. He will be talking about what we can learn from legendary writer-teacher Donald Graves.

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  • Jamie Evans will be discussing how you can use personal writing journals to promote writing for pleasure with children who may traditionally struggle with being writers in class.

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  • Nicola Izibili from The Writing Web will be doing a workshop on the power of verbal feedback and conducting pupil conferencing as a writer-teacher to improve children as writers.

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  • General Secretary and former president of the UK Literacy Association David Reedy will be doing a workshop on what writing is for and what writing involves. 

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  • We will also be joined by who will be doing a workshop on writing poetry with and amongst children.

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  • We will also be doing our popular workshop on how memoir writing can fabulously transform yourself and your community of apprentice writers.

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This conference has been made possible by our dear friends at the United Kingdom Literacy Association, Primary English Research Hub , Dr Rebecca Austin and Jamie Evans. A big thank you to everyone. Can’t wait to see you all in July!

 

 

Writing For Pleasure: Scaffolding New Learning And Setting Writing Goals

Scaffolding New Learning And Setting Writing Goals

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According to research, Writing For Pleasure teachers will scaffold new writing projects by setting both process and product oriented writing goals. This happens in a mastery based writing environment which has an atmosphere of inquiry, investigation and experimentation at its heart.

A little note about terminology here before we begin.

  • Distant Writing Goals – often the end goal of a writing project. The final writing ‘product’. The purpose and audience for the writing is revealed, considered and discussed at this point.
  • Product Writing Goals – often writers will talk about their finished writing being their ‘product’. The thing that is created. Product writing goals then are the intentions we have for the writing. What will we have to do to make this an effective product…? This is very different to success criteria which don’t always attend to the intentions for the writing nor are they always authentically generated with the whole writing community.
  • Process Writing Goals – these are goals we often set ourselves as writers. We will often give ourselves mini-deadlines. Rarely do we take on a large project in one go. Rather, we take it a step at a time. For example, ‘We need to try and finish this draft in the next couple of days’. This doesn’t mean you don’t or can’t do two processes at the same time sometimes. For example, some of us, as ‘paragraph pilers,’ will often write a paragraph, read it through, maybe revise it a bit, maybe even proof-read it a little before moving onto our next paragraph. This doesn’t mean we won’t also put time aside to revise and edit it explicitly at a later stage.

Therefore, Writing For Pleasure teachers will in all likelihood:

Set A Distant Writing Goal:

‘Our next writing project is to produce an instructional text about something we are really good at. I was thinking we could write them to share with one another in our class library’? Does anyone have any other ideas?

Setting Product Writing Goals:

Writing For Pleasure teachers will set writing goals for writing projects collaboratively with their apprentice writers. According to research (Ames & Archer 1988; Covington 2000; Rooke 2013), it is important for children’s pleasure in writing that they are afforded some participation and agency in the formation of learning goals for class writing projects. This not only builds the learner’s motivation and engagement in the act of writing, but also helps him or her clarify what has to be undertaken to be successful at it. Children who are motivated and find pleasure in writing may also gain higher levels of self-efficacy as a result (Bandura & Schunk, 1981; Butler & Winnie, 1995; Rooke 2013). Gadd (2014) claims that this might require the teacher to ask questions like:

‘We’ve had a look at a few really good instructional texts from last year’s class. So, what might we have to think about to be successful at writing an excellent instructional text? Let’s write some product goals down on this flip-chart paper together.’

Over The Course Of The Project, Set Process Orientated Writing Goals:

The most effective type of writing goal, this means splitting up the different processes of writing to reduce children’s cognitive load, building their sense of self-efficacy and setting them further writing goals to achieve within these different processes. Writing For Pleasure teachers teach writing processes with a view to children applying them to class and personal projects and for individual mastery of them. This was the subject of our last #WritingRocks talk and you can view more about teaching the writing processes here.

  • Over the next couple of writing sessions, you are to have a plan for your instructional text ready.
  • OK. Using your plans to aid you, you have the next few writing sessions to draft your instructions.
  • I’m giving you this writing session to work with your talk partner on revising your instructional text ready for publication. If you feel you might need another session because you have a lot of revisions to do, let me know.
  • If you feel ready, I’ve put aside this writing session (and tomorrow’s if we need it) for us to proof-read and edit our instructional texts so that they are ‘reader-ready’.
  • Today is the day! This writing session is for you to publish your instructional texts into the class library. 

Writing Goals, Over Time, Create Self-Regulating And Independent Writers

Distant goals (like completing a class writing project e.g. ‘let’s write flash-fiction pieces for the year four classes’) will be sub-divided into more manageable ‘chunks,’ which allows not only for long-term progress to be monitored clearly and regularly, but also for children to feel a sense of satisfaction more frequently by completing these sub-goals (Bandura & Schunk, 1981; Butler & Winnie, 1995; Hmelo-Silver et al 2007). The cognitive load involved in writing is shared out across the writing processes, making the writing project feel more accessible and manageable to children. The ultimate aim is that, over time, these goals become automated and that children negotiate these cognitively challenging writing projects largely independently and using their own preferred writing process (see our last #WritingRocks chat). It also means that they can pursue personal writing projects in much the same way as they do their class ones.

If you set a process goal like ‘over the next three writing sessions, you must complete your revisions,’ why not consider that once children have completed this goal allowing them to pursue their personal writing projects whilst the rest of the class finish? Why not make this the expectation after any class writing goal has been completed?

The Types Of Learning Goals Writing For Pleasure Teachers Will Set:

Gadd (2014) suggests quite an open ended interpretation of writing process goals. They can be:

  • Single goals for all learners. We are all going to finish our plans today.
  • Multiple writing goals for learners to select from. Publish something entertaining, using any genre you like.
  • They can be worked on by learners at varying times or simultaneously. Wherever you find yourself in the writing process, carry on.
  • They can be designed to generate one intended outcome or a range of possible outcomes. ‘You must all write a biography of Buzz Aldrin’ or ‘You must all write a biography of someone you know personally’. ‘You have to write an information text about the water cycle’ Or ‘pick a genre and use it to write about the water cycle’.
  • They can be designed to include cooperative or interactive writing projects.
  • They can also be devised by the teacher and children together or the children alone.

Therefore, once the writing processes are established with the children in the school/class and they are fluent or experienced writers, Writing For Pleasure teachers will allow their learners to work on their writing goals at their own level and at their own pace (Garrett & Moltzen 2011; Paratore & McCormack, 2009; Pollard et al., 1994; Reutzel, 2007; Rubie-Davies 2010; Schumm & Avalos, 2009; Wyse & Torgerson 2017).

They are likely to set learning goals such as: ‘your writing goal is to describe the characters in the stories you write’ as opposed to ‘add a noun phrase to describe your character more’. Or ‘you need take more care when proofreading, use your editing checklist to help you’ rather than ‘you have some capital letters missing in this piece – correct them’.

There are links between the setting of these types of learning goals and how Writing For Pleasure teachers deliver these goals through pupil conferencing and potentially as writer-teachers. This is something we will discuss in future #WritingRocks chats!

Obvious Links To Other Writing For Pleasure Manifesto Principles:

The scaffolding of new learning and the setting of writing goals promotes Writing For Pleasure in a number of ways:

  1. It promotes the idea of self-efficacy because it helps apprentice writers to accomplish many goals and gives them the feeling that they can manage the writing project.
  2. It promotes a feeling of agency. Once experienced enough with the different processes and what they involve, children can set and control their own process goals.
  3. 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.
  4. It massively supports children’s self-regulation. Over time, apprentice writers will certainly gain a feeling of independence from external intervention and scaffolding and will be able to monitor their own writing projects.
  5. 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 a writer in a feeling of safety and understanding.

As an approach, it also reflects other principles outlined in our Writing For Pleasure manifesto including:

  • Creating An Environment For Writing because the children will be writing authentically matching the typical talk and behaviours of writers outside of the classroom, the writing environment will have the feeling of an authentic community of writers working together to create great writing. Writer-teacher and apprentice writers will talk together about the intentions for their writing projects, what the purpose and audience for the writing will be, what sorts of things they will have to consider to produce an excellent writing product and they will discuss their writing processes in achieving that goal.
  • Every child a writer because children will be undertaking the same kind of behaviours as professional writers they will feel like genuine writers too.
  • Purposeful and authentic writing projects because these sorts of projects allow children to negotiate all the different writing processes over a longer period of time and also consider a variety of product goals for different types of writing.
  • Reading, sharing and talking about writing because children can begin talking about their own writerly behaviours and their ‘ways of writing’ and tackling certain writing goals.
  • Building self-regulation because it encourages teachers to provide resources and scaffolds which help children negotiate the writing processes and ultimately shows apprentice writers how they can take an idea through to publishing largely on their own and at their own pace – completing the many goals involved as they go.
  • Personal writing projects allow children time and space to develop their own processes and goals for writing, about things they are motivated to write about and largely at their own pace.
  • Balancing composition and transcription by showing children how they can set specific goals which deal with both composition (seeing product related writing goals) and process goals (editing for spelling, punctuation and publishing for handwriting), children are better able to focus on a specific aspect of writing and to achieve certain goals related to produce a finished piece of writing which is both compositionally and transcriptionally sound.
  • Being a writer teacher because a writer-teacher will have a better understanding of how the writing processes work and how they set themselves their own writing goals, they will be able to pass on that wisdom to their apprentice writers.
  • Pupil conferences As a writer-teacher, you’ll be better able to share feedback and advice about the writing processes as well as the typical products goals for certain types of writing from a position of expertise and understanding.

Further Reading:

If you found this article interesting, you should also read:

www.teachersaswriters.org/general/writing-and-rewriting

www.change.org/p/michael-gove-straws-suck-ban-single-use-straws-across-the-uk

http://thewroxham.org.uk/our-learning/independent-writing-what-is-it/

Please support us by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button in the top-right corner (or if you’re on a tablet or smartphone at the bottom of the screen).

You can also follow us and contribute to the Writing For Pleasure teacher community @WritingRocks_17

References

  • Ames, C., & Archer, J. (1988). Achievement goals in the classroom: Students’ learning strategies and motivation processes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 260–267.
  • Bandura, A., & Schunk, D. H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy and intrinsic interest through proximal self-motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41(3), 586–598
  • Butler, D. L., & Winne, P. H. (1995). Feedback and self-regulated learning: A theoretical synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 65(3), 245–274.
  • Covington, M. V. (2000). Goal theory, motivation, and school achievement: An integrative review. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 171–200.
  • Garrett, L., Moltzen, R., (2011) Writing because I want to, not because I have to: Young gifted writers’ perspectives on the factors that “matter” in developing expertise In English Teaching: Practice and Critique 165-180
  • Graham, S., Harris, K., Mason, L., (2011) Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Students With Writing Difficulties. Theory Into Practice. Vol. 50 Issue 1, p20-27
  • Hmelo-Silver, C., Duncan, R., & Chinn, C. (2007). Scaffolding and achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: A response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99–107.
  • Langer, J. A. (2001). Beating the odds: Teaching middle and high school students to read and write well. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 837–880.
  • Latham, G. P., & Locke, E. A. (1991). Self-regulation through goal setting. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 212–247
  • Paratore, J. R., & McCormack, R. L. (2009). Grouping in the middle and secondary grades: Advancing content and literacy knowledge. In K. D. Wood & W. E. Blanton (Eds.), Literacy instruction for adolescents: Research-based practice (pp. 420–441). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Paris, S. G., & Winograd, P. (2003). The role of self-regulated learning in contextual teaching: Principles and practices for teacher preparation (CIERA Report). Retrieved from http://www.ciera.org/library/archive/2001-04/0104parwin.htm
  • Pollard, A., Broadfoot, P., Croll, P., Osborn, M. and Abbott, D. (1994) Changing English in Primary Schools? The Impact of the Education Reform Act at KS1. London: Cassell
  • Reutzel, D. R. (2007). Organizing effective literacy instruction: Differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all children. In L. B. Gambrell, L. M. Morrow, & M. Pressley (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (pp. 313–434). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Rooke, J., (2013) Transforming Writing: Final Evaluation Report National Literacy Trust: London
  • Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2010). Teacher expectations and perceptions of student attributes: Is there a relationship? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 121–135.
  • Schumm, J. S., & Avalos, M. A. (2009). Responsible differentiated instruction for the adolescent learner. In K. D. Wood & W. E. Blanton (Eds.), Literacy instruction for adolescents: Research-based practice (pp. 144–169). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25, 71-86
  • Schunk, D. H. (1996). Goal and self-evaluative influences during children’s cognitive skill learning. American Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 359–382.
  • Schunk, D. H., & Swartz, C. W. (1993). Goals and progress feedback: Effects on selfefficacy and writing achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 18(3), 337–354.
  • Seijts, G. H., Latham, G. P., Tasa, K., & Latham, B. W. (2004). Goal setting and goal orientation: An integration of two different yet related literatures. Academy of Management Journal, 47(2), 227–239.
  • Timperley, H. & Parr, J., (2009) What is this lesson about? Instructional processes and student understandings in writing classrooms, The Curriculum Journal, 20:1, 43-60
  • Vanderburg, R., (2006) Reviewing Research on Teaching Writing Based on Vygotsky’s Theories: What We Can Learn In Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22:4, 375-393

Writing For Pleasure Has Had A Research Grant Awarded! Participants Wanted!

Hi #WritingRocks colleagues. We have some really exciting news for you all! Our dear friends at The Goldsmiths Company have recently awarded #WritingRocks a research grant.

The grant means that, as a community, we can begin to explore, document and share teachers’ Writing For Pleasure practices from across the country!

The grant provides us with an amazing opportunity to:

  • Visit you at your school.
  • Talk together about your writing teaching.
  • Team-teach alongside you.
  • Do some CPD with you and your school (to discuss how you could enhance your Writing For Pleasure pedagogy further).
  • Talk with your apprentice writers about their writing and their feelings about being writers.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for any UK based KS1/KS2 teachers who feel that they teach writing in such a way that it reflects some (but not necessarily all!) of the fourteen principles of our Writing For Pleasure manifesto. These principles include:

  1. Creating A Community Of Writers
  2. Every Child A Writer
  3. Reading, Sharing And Talking About Writing
  4. Purposeful & Authentic Writing Projects
  5. Explicitly Teach The Writing Processes
  6. Scaffolding New Learning & Setting Writing Goals
  7. Being Reassuringly Consistent
  8. Personal Writing Projects: Writing Everyday
  9. Balancing Composition With Transcription
  10. Teaching Self-Regulation Strategies
  11. Being A Writer-Teacher
  12. Pupil Conference: Meeting Children Where They Are
  13. Literacy For Pleasure: Reading And Writing Connecting
  14. Successful Interconnection Of These Principles

If you’d like to see a copy of the Writing For Pleasure manifesto, you can download it here.

If you, or a colleague you know, might find this interesting then please do drop us an email at literacyforpleasure@gmail.com

The deadline for applications is 31st July 2018

Please will you all share this post as much as possible on your social networks, we’d really appreciate it!

Many thanks,

Ross Young

UKLA National Committee Member

https://ukla.org/

National Literacy Trust member and contributor

https://literacytrust.org.uk/resources/writing-pleasure/

Writing For Pleasure Practice: Creating Class Publishing Houses

 

Writing For Pleasure Practice: Creating Class Publishing Houses

Having read Back & Forth: Using An Editor’s Mindset To Improve Student Writing by Lee Heffernan, I was inspired to create a class publishing house in my own classroom. This is a recount of how I went about it.

We are now about half way through the academic year and the children are settling into the idea that they can of publish personal writing projects into the class library. Writing is being undertaken at home and is also making its way into the class library. Children are increasingly talking about writing and are writing collaboratively too. Confidence has been built and a sense of writer-identity has been established. The children are beginning to believe they are writers and that they have many things to say and share with each other.  

Earlier in the year, we had a mini-lesson where we looked to discover what ‘literacy clubs’ make up our writing community. This is where we find out what sort of special interest groups make up our writing community. The children described what they were experts on, what they were excited by and the things that interested them most outside of school. We created a class poster and placed it proudly on our working wall. This, over time, helped build our writer identity as a class.

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For a while, the children would use this as inspiration for writing projects. They would write to other excited members of their ‘special interest group’ but also write to inform other community members of their interests. However, this seemed to die off a little moving into the second term.

At the time of writing, I’ve been fortunate enough to accept a publishing deal and after reading Lee Heffernan’s book, I took the opportunity to explain the process I was now going through and the relationship I was having to build with the publishing house and my ‘editor’. What I’ve come to realise is that a compositional editor is a very critical friend. They look to push your ideas and your writing to its maximum potential. They support and champion you but they also tell you when things need untangling. A publishing house, I’ve also discovered, has a certain identity, a certain statement of intent and a certain reputation for producing certain types of books. I decided to talk about it a little with my class.

We discussed which publishing houses were publishing our favourite books in the class library and we discussed that, in many ways, I was the writing community’s editor, and as a writer-teacher, the children were often mine too! But we soon noticed that we didn’t have a publishing house? We publish into the class library but what does our library stand for? What sort of texts do we want to publish for eachother? Importantly, what sort of texts do we need to publish for eachother? What’s our mission? We discussed this and created our own mission statement for our newly forming publishing house…Now we needed a name and a logo. The children got together and came up with a variety of ideas. We took a vote and agreed on ‘Banger Books Publishing: Books With Wizz And A Bang!’ Alongside it was a logo which we felt everyone would be able to draw and add to their published pieces easily.

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However, there was soon some disappointment within the class. Some of the children became attached to their particular vision for their publishing house and felt that maybe their idiosyncrasies weren’t visible in our whole class mission statement. So with that, as a community, we decided that we could also have smaller, independent houses and that these would need mission statements, brand names and logos too! It was also agreed that these independents would have to be unique enough to not encroach on Banger Books Publishing.

The result was the poster below showcasing the independents and what sorts of books they are looking to publish on their label. I’m now creating opportunities for the children to meet with the editors in question when they feel they have something to publish with them. They can meet and undertake a conference together and share any revision or editorial ideas they may have for the child’s manuscript before it goes to press. I’ll also be around to offer advice and an independent voice.  

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Here is our initial list of independent publishing houses which make up our community of writers at present:

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Delightful Disabilities People with disabilities have great abilities We are looking to publish: stories, poems, faction, memoirs and lots of other things about disabilities.

Paw Publishing Bring animals to life We are looking to publish high-quality texts which: have strong animals characters, have a strong environmental message.

Writing Is Life Writing that keeps you alive We are looking for memoirs that entertain, are well written and include lots of people and loads of info.

Horrible Horrors Bone-cracking books that will scare you to death We publish high-quality books that: are well written, that are powerful, have a meaning, which are scary, are entertaining and surprising.

Fantastic Feminism Books for rebel boys and rebel girls We want our books to include: an amazing girl! Something that the girl does to save the day, to be thoughtful, to have a moral.

Amazing Action Books that explode We publish high-quality texts that are scary with lots of action and are well written.

Poetic Poems Painting with words We publish high quality books that: are well written, very artistic, entertain readers, not boring, poems about the things you like.

Super Sports Super sliding swooping books We publish high-quality books that: are well written, about sport, are funny and are adventurous.

4RY Book Review Sharing the book love We publish high-quality reviews which inspire you to pick up a book and read.

Well, what I think…Publishing Sharing opinion, argument and discussion texts We publish opinion pieces on the things you think about and care about the most. We like topics which will create argument and reflection.

In terms of the writing for pleasure principles, the practice of setting up class publishing houses promotes the following principles:

  • Creating a community of writers – children are currently feeling empowered to create their own inclusive writing community.
  • Every child a writer all children can access the publishing houses and feel they have some to say and an identity within the classroom library.
  • Reading, sharing and talking about writing This is where I’ve seen the biggest changes. It’s been wonderful watching children gather around a text and discussing what its strengths are and what it might need before it can be published. Hearing children be both critical  and supportive friends and children working together to help a child pursue their personal writing projects has been inspiring.
  • Explicitly teach the writing processesIt has helped children better understand the the recursive nature  of the writing processes and what manuscripts have to go through before they are published.
  • Personal writing projects It has given a high status and created high expectations for personal writing projects.
  • Balancing composition with transcription –  It has ensured that children attend to both the composition and the transcription of their pieces before publishing. Revision and editing is now taken very seriously.
  • Pupil conferencing: meeting children where they are This process has helped me as a writer-teacher understand my role as a compositional editor and editor-in-chief of Banger Books Publishing.  The way I talk to the children about their projects has changed dramatically. Having the mission statement written up on display has helped hone in on exactly their pieces need in terms of revision. It will discuss and offer advice on endings, making the writing significant, development of characters in ways I simply wasn’t doing in the past. We are talking about the quality of their manuscripts on a much deeper level now.

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This blog post is another of a series of posts based on our Writing For Pleasure manifesto. 

The research used to inform our Writing For Pleasure manifesto revealed the significance of four themes within the teaching of writing and overall revealed fourteen key principles to teaching writing for pleasure. The themes include: building a community of writers, teaching children to be independent and self-regulating writers, being a writer-teacher and linking reading with writing. A pedagogy which promotes these four themes and the principles within them will provide an affective and effective environment in which children become successful and engaged writers.

Our Literacy For Pleasure website and the #WritingRocks community aims to build a vibrant movement of writing for pleasure teachers who can:

  • Engage with research and review their WfP practice.
  • Access practical materials to support WfP in their schools.
  • Develop research-informed practice and share examples of good practice with the rest of the community.
  • Participate in online monthly Twitter chats through our #WritingRocks account.

To join our ever growing, friendly and engaged community of writing for pleasure teachers, simply follow this blog by clicking ‘follow’ either on the right hand side or at the bottom of this article. You can also join us by following us on Twitter at @WritingRocks_17

If you want to support your school’s development of writing for pleasure, please check out our Writing For Pleasure manifesto and our other materials on The National Literacy Trust website.

If you have an example of good writing for pleasure practice which you think could be shared with the rest of the community, then please contact us here.

A Guide To Reading With Children

This year parents, assistant teachers, reading volunteers, teachers and even other young readers have asked us how to effectively read alongside children.

As a result, we created this guide to reading with children. It’s available to download below.

It is split up into a few sections and includes the following:

  1. Sharing and making explicit what it is good young readers do.
  2. Explaining what you should do when reading alongside children.
  3. Explaining your role as a ‘reader-thinker’.
  4. Outlining what the best things you can do when helping a child to read.
  5. Naming the worst things you can when helping a child to read.
  6. A short explanation about how readers go about decoding text.
  7. What to do before you start reading.
  8. What to do whilst you are reading.
  9. What to do after you’ve read.
  10. What sorts of things you can focus on when writing in reading records books.

We hope you find it useful!

A guide to reading with children

DOWNLOAD: A Guide To Reading With Children

If you liked this, you might also want to try:

  1. Creating A Community Of Readers: A Reading For Pleasure Article
  2. Creating A Community Of Readers: The Power Of DEAR
  3. The ‘Rights Of A Child Reader’ Guide.

Our other free resources:

  1. Writing Study: Lessons That Last Forever PACK
  2. A Functional Grammar Table: CPD Subject Knowledge With A Difference

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Explicitly Teaching The Writing Processes And Writing For Pleasure

Explicitly Teaching The Writing Processes And Writing For Pleasure

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:

Chart

  • 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.

 

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  • 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):

 

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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.

Processes

  • Direct instruction will involve children seeing writer-teachers using a range of practices (including: modelling, coaching, giving expert information and guidance, questioning, and explaining) with the goal being to lead children towards constructing high-quality texts.
  • Once experienced enough, children will learn to re-read their work as they compose, they may change their plans as they compose, they might revise as they draft and perhaps they undertake editing on a sentence they’ve just written automatically and unconsciously. Additionally, children will learn to be discerning about their writing and whether a project is worth perusing through to publication or not.
  • A number of studies have recognised the benefits of a 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 that writers really do – just in a classroom. 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:

  1. It promotes the idea of self-efficacy because it helps apprentice writers to picture themselves realising their writing intentions.
  2. It promotes a feeling of agency. Once experienced enough with the different processes and what they involve, children can control their own writing process.
  3. 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.
  4. It massively supports children’s self-regulation. Over time, apprentice writers will certainly gain a feeling of independence from external intervention and scaffolding.
  5. 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 a writer in a feeling of safety and understanding.

As an approach, it also reflects other principles outlined in our Writing For Pleasure manifesto including:

  • Purposeful and authentic writing projects because these sorts of projects allow children to negotiate all the different writing processes over time.
  • Reading, sharing and talking about writing because children can begin talking about their own writerly behaviours and their ‘ways of writing’.
  • Building self-regulation because it encourages teachers to provide resources and scaffolds which help children negotiate the writing processes and ultimately shows apprentice writers how they can take an idea through to publishing largely on their own.
  • Personal writing projects allow children time and space to develop their own processes for writing, about things they are motivated to write about and largely at their own pace.
  • Setting writing goals allows children to feel a sense of achievement by completing specific process milestones towards the distant goal of publishing a writing product.
  • Balancing composition and transcription because it ensures you are teaching children how to compose with automaticity which frees them up to think about and attend to transcriptional issues.
  • Being a writer teacher because a writer-teacher will have a better understanding of how the writing processes work and how they deal with them themselves.
  • Pupil conferences because, as a writer-teacher, you’ll be better able to share feedback and advice about the writing processes from a position of expertise and understanding.
  • Literacy for pleasure: reading and writing coming together because when apprentice writers are afforded the opportunity to write authentically, through the writing processes, they begin to exhibit sophisticated reading behaviours. Being afforded such opportunities to write results in high levels of pleasure in reading, with children often seeking out texts that are likely to serve and support their needs as writers and lead them to better understanding these texts as a result.

Further Reading:

If you found this article interesting, you should also read:

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You can also follow us and contribute to the Writing For Pleasure teacher community @WritingRocks_17

References

  • Atwell, N., (2014), In the middle USA: Heinemann
  • Calkins, L. (1998) The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Corden, R. (2007) Developing reading–writing connections: The impact of explicit instruction of literary devices on the quality of children’s narrative writing. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 21: 269–289
  • Danoff, B., Harris, K. R. and Graham, S. (1993) Incorporating strategy instruction within the writing process in the regular classroom: Effects on the writing of students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of Reading Behavior 25: 295–322.
  • Englert, C. S., Raphael, T., Anderson, L. M., Anthony, H. M. and Stevens, D. D. (1991) Making strategies and self-talk visible: Writing instruction in regular and special education classrooms. American Educational Research Journal 28: 337–371
  • Freedman, A. (1993). Show and tell? The role of explicit teaching in the learning of new genres. Research in the Teaching of English, 27(3), 222–251.
  • Graham, S., Harris, K. & Chambers, A. (2016) Evidence-based practice and writing instruction: A review of reviews, in: C. MacArthur, S. Graham & J. Fitzgerald (Eds) Handbook of writing research (2nd edn) (New York, Guilford Press).
  • Graham, S. and Sandmel, K. (2011) The process writing approach: A metaanalysis. Journal of Educational Research. 104: 396–407
  • Graves, D., (1983), Writing: Teachers & Children At Work USA: Heinemann
  • Grossman, P. L., Loeb, S., Cohen, J., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). Measure for measure: The relationship between measures of instructional practice in middle school English Language Arts and teachers’ value-added scores. American Journal of Education, 119(3), 445–470.
  • Harris, K. R. and Graham, S. (1996) Making the Writing Process Work: Strategies for Composition and Self-Regulation. Brookline, Massachusetts: Brookline Books.
  • Harris, K. R., Graham, S. and Mason, L. H. (2006) Improving the writing, knowledge, and motivation of struggling young writers: Effects of self-regulated strategy development with and without peer support. American Educational Research Journal 43: 295–337
  • Hoewisch, A. (2001) “Do I have to have a princess in my story?”: Supporting children’s writing of fairytales. Reading and Writing Quarterly 17: 249–277
  • Jasmine, J., Weiner, W., (2007) The Effects of Writing Workshop on Abilities of First Grade Students to Become Confident and Independent Writers In Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, (2) pp. 131-139
  • Langer, J. A. (2001). Beating the odds: Teaching middle and high school students to read and write well. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 837–880.
  • Larson, J. and Maier, M. (2000) Co-authoring classroom texts: Shifting participant roles in writing activity. Research in the Teaching of English 34: 468–497.
  • Lipson, M., Mosenthal, J., Daniels, P., Woodside-Jiron, H., (2000) Process Writing in the Classrooms of Eleven Fifth-Grade Teachers with Different Orientations to Teaching and Learning In Elementary School Journal. 101, (2), pp. 209-231
  • Goldstein, A., Carr, P., (1996) Can Students Benefit From Process Writing In NCES, 1, (3), p.96
  • Peterson, S. S. (2012) An analysis of discourses of writing and writing instruction in curricula across Canada. Curriculum Inquiry 42: 260–284
  • Rooke, J., (2013) Transforming Writing: Final Evaluation Report National Literacy Trust: London
  • Seban, D., Tavsanli, Ö., (2015) Children’s sense of being a writer: identity construction in second grade writers workshop In International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 7(2), 217-234
  • Sexton, M., Harris, K. R. and Graham, S. (1998) Self-regulated strategy development and the writing process: Effects on essay writing and attributions. Exceptional Children 64: 295–311
  • Taylor, M., (2000) Nancie Atwell’s “In the Middle” and the Ongoing Transformation of the Writing Workshop In The English Journal, 90,(1), pp. 46-52
  • Wyse, D., Torgerson, C., (2017) Experimental trials and ‘what works?’ In education: The case of grammar for writing In British Educational Research Journal, 43,(6), pp. 1019–1047