Writing For Pleasure: Primary School Management Interview

Do happy writers make better writers? Lucy Starbuck Braidley talks to two primary educators who believe so, and sees what leaders can learn from their findings…

If you’re looking to refresh, optimise or even radically change the approach to writing pedagogy within your school, the Writing For Pleasure movement can give you an interesting new perspective to consider.

The overall approach aims for children to make progress in their writing, alongside developing a genuine love and sense of satisfaction from the activity of writing itself – thus setting them up to be lifelong writers, as well as learners.

It’s an evidence-based pedagogy that places the child as an autonomous writer at the centre of decision-making about their writing. It enables children to write independently through explicit teaching of authorial skills, and its leading proponents say it’s getting results.

Born from boredom

The Writing For Pleasure approach is starting to gain traction amongst teachers and increasingly being implemented at schools across the country. As a school leader, what do you need to know about the approach and what it might be able to do for your school?

The Writing For Pleasure pedagogy was originally devised by Ross Young and Phil Ferguson, who at the time were both working primary school teachers. With many years of classroom experience between them, both were feeling frustrated by their attempts at helping children who struggled with writing, having observed that the traditional approaches they’d been using were having limited impact.

“We were both working in a school together, and were both bored with our teaching of writing,” remembers Young. “We thought ‘This isn’t working,’ and were starting to question the established pedagogy.”

While reviewing relevant research, they came across a broader issue – the presence of a clear link between enjoyment and attainment in writing – as later described in the duo’s Writing for Pleasure Manifesto:

“A recent survey conducted by the National Literacy Trust makes clear that for many years there has been a decline or stagnation in UK children’s enjoyment, volition and motivation to write both in and out of school; with 49.3% of children showing largely indifference or dislike for writing. Importantly, The National Literacy Trust also states that ‘eight times as many children and young people who do not enjoy writing write below the expected level compared with those who enjoy writing’”.

As Young explains, “We realised that much of what we did in the classroom had no research to back it up at all … We’re teaching children to produce ‘writing products’ to fulfil assessment criteria. The children are never actually taught the craft of writing, they’re never taught to be writers.”

High expectations

So what does a ‘Writing For Pleasure school’ actually look like? The Writing For Pleasure Manifesto goes on to outline what such an approach to writing pedagogy should promote – namely self-efficacy, agency, volition, motivation, self-regulation, enjoyment, writer-identity and satisfaction in writing.

Schools are further called on to provide substantial daily time for writing. Class writing projects can be organised with the aim of bringing whole classes together in learning and discussing the characteristics of a particular genre, while allowing children to choose their own writing topics. At the same time, the children are separately encouraged to pursue personal projects, writing in a genre and for a purpose of their own choosing.

The manifesto sets out 14 interconnecting principles that make up the Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, and is intended to act as a guide for school leaders interested in implementing the approach within their school. Those principles include ensuring high expectations for all writers across the school, and the creation of a community of writers within which writing is shared, talked about and celebrated, including writing produced by school staff.

Time saver

Reading this, school leaders and teachers might be concerned that the current curriculum allows little time for putting in place these and other Writing For Pleasure initiatives. Young and Ferguson claim, however, that the approach can actually save time in the classroom by unblocking children’s creative flow and reducing the need for teachers to instruct them on what to write before starting an in-depth piece of work.

“It’s a very efficient pedagogy once you set it up,” says Young. “40 years worth of evidence is now pointing towards this approach, and it’s grounded in academic research showing that it improves writing outcomes. If you get the children to generate their own ideas – individually, in groups or as a class – that’s a lot quicker than building in additional lessons for transferring content to the children that they then reproduce it what we call a ‘writing product’.”

In Ross Young’s view, a good starting point for school leaders would be to use the manifesto document to conduct an audit of current practice across their school. Reflections drawn from the audit should then provide useful insights that can feed into school development plans and ongoing CPD.

Independent skills

For the Writing For Pleasure team, implementing the approach across a school can play a key role in harnessing and building on the independent writing skills that children initially develop in EYFS. “Interestingly enough, children in early years are allowed to write about what they want. That then seems to be largely taken away from them once they come into formal schooling,” Young adds. “We basically make writing a lot harder for them.”

School leaders might also want to consider the extent to which ‘reading for pleasure’ is promoted alongside writing in their school, and the ways in which both are interconnected. Do your staff view themselves as writers? Do they use their experience as writers to enrich their practice?

Moreover, are the children explicitly taught about the how writers use different sources of inspiration? Are they encouraged to record and save their ideas, and if so, are they given opportunities to use and further develop those ideas during personal writing time?

It’s certainly food for thought. Careful consideration of these key questions could well mark the first steps of a journey that will radically change the culture of writing within your school for the better.

Cross-curricular writing – A poisoned chalice?

Cross-curricular writing might be very much in vogue in current educational practice, but some have expressed concerns over its potential pitfalls.

As Ross Young puts it, “The problem is that it’s difficult to give equal and simultaneous attention to (a) providing pupils with unfamiliar topic content and (b) helping them develop their writers’ craft. “One could say that the trend towards cross-curricular writing is failing to serve the curriculum in both the foundation subjects and the practice of writing, because the learning intentions in these two contexts are diluted and weakened.”

Lucy Starbuck Braidley is a primary school teacher and subject leader for English and PE.

For the original article please visit: https://www.primaryleaders.com/attainment-and-assessment/teaching-practice/make-writing-enjoyable-for-better-pupil-outcomes

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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.

***

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.

Planning Purposeful & Authentic Writing Projects

Planning Purposeful & Authentic Writing Projects

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#WritingRocks  chat by  @thewritingweb

Have you heard of #WritingRocks, a truly welcoming special interest group open to anyone involved in any aspect of teaching writing in the Primary phase?  It is aligned to the Literacy for Pleasure blog, which explores how theoretical ideas and research might inform practical ways by which to potentially improve children’s motivation and outcomes in literacy. I love their Real-World Literacy approach to teaching writing, underpinned by the 14 interconnected principles of their Writing for Pleasure Manifesto.

Each of their regular #WritingRocks Twitter chats is focused on one of these principles.  As the founder of The Writing Web, I was incredibly flattered to be asked to host a chat earlier this month by Phil and Ross (the fabulous bodies behind for Literacy for Pleasure and #WritingRocks).

This blog post outlines what I learnt from the process and the key themes that arose from the chat on the 5th February 2018.

I drafted the questions in collaboration with Ross from Literacy for Pleasure.  He was instrumental in ensuring the order of the questions was coherent and that they were phrased in such a way that invited diverse and honest responses from potential contributors.

I toyed with the idea of selecting pertinent images to encapsulate each question, as I find this is an effective method of raising the profile of tweets. However, after wasting several hours I chose to create a ‘postcard’, which summarised the session and could be used for regular promotion in the run up to the chat.  I believe this was a successful approach, as was directing Twitter followers unfamiliar with Twitter chats to Literacy for Pleasure’s #WritingRocks Schedule and succinct How to Guide.  Huge thanks to everyone who retweeted promotional materials to their followers!

Having taken part in #WritingRocks chats before, I know that I find it incredibly difficult to ‘keep up’ with the conversation, especially as I’m prone to typos and generally draft Tweets and responses in a Word document first.  (There is simply nothing more cringeworthy as the notification that someone has liked a tweet that promotes a writing business revealing that said tweet is riddled with errors…)  So, in preparation for the chat, I drafted some responses to the four questions, including the #WritingRocks hashtag in the responses.  #WritingRocks kindly allowed me to take over their account but I was also keen to respond to contributors from my @thewritingweb account.  I was stumped.  But the Internet Explorer and Google Chrome short cut buttons at the bottom of my screen inspired a solution: run one account from each web browser and juggle these with the trusty ‘drafting space’ the Word document offered.  Finally, I felt, with the invaluable support of #WritingRocks, that I could make this work.

I felt completely prepared for the session, so put the kettle on ready to go.

Suddenly, it was three minutes until #WritingRocks was live and I was not ready!  I hadn’t even considered that each question would need to be ‘introduced’ with a brief preamble.  Cue, serious panic!  I rushed to draft some suitable words to accompany the ‘release’ of the first question and select an accompanying image to ensure it was high-profile; Monday night is a busy night for Twitter chats.  (Note to self: send this from the #WritingRocks account.)  And so, the heady sequence of juggling screens and ideas began in earnest.

At 8:05pm, no responses had been posted (with the exception of #WritingRocks) and I feared we were all alone!  The all-encompassing magnitude of my panic was crushing, so I posted some of my pre-prepared contributions as a distraction. (Note to self: send this from the @thewritingweb account.)  I refreshed the page and was overwhelmed by the response to the first question:

Q1) 8 to 8:15pm Is there a case for children choosing their own writing topics? What might be the benefits?

This question received the greatest response, I’m not sure whether this is the norm with Twitter chats.  However, I was so engrossed in the related conversations that I neglected to glance at the clock until it was 8:15pm.  Argh, time to release the second question (Note to self: send this from the #WritingRocks account.) and I hadn’t prepared a preamble!  I was inundated with simultaneous actions to complete: juggling screens and juggling conversations, whilst attempting to maintain a professional tone as my sense of panic amplified.  What an exhilarating, informative scenario!  I have collated responses to all four questions at the end of this blog post.

By the time, 8:45pm arrived, time to release the final question, I felt as if I might finally be getting into the swing of things.  Although, much of my time was still focused on threads related to the initial question and my cup of tea remained untouched.  It was only during the aftermath, when I spent nearly three hours ‘pulling apart’ the conversations, that I felt that I had the head space to sincerely engage with every valued contribution.  I searched for contributions using the #WritingRocks hashtag and copied these into a Word document.  It took like what felt forever, as if I was disappearing down the rabbit hole at times.  There must be any easier way!

Here is a summary of the conversation that took place on the night.  Thank you to everyone who contributed at the time and joined the conversation after the event, using the #WritingRocks hashtag.  I was encouraged to learn that those who participated in a Twitter chat for the very first time found it a valuable experience.

I have learnt that there is a real appetite for providing children with opportunities to write for their own audiences and purposes.  It was fascinating to learn about others’ approaches to realising this in their classrooms and the associated challenges.  Ultimately, the consensus appears to be that enabling children to choose the content of their own writing, increases their confidence, motivation and enjoyment.  Children have to know that their ideas are valued and we, as teachers, need to employ relevant strategies to support them in developing child-generated content.

* Plug Alert! *

Hosting the Twitter chat in collaboration with #WritingRocks proved to be an invaluable way of promoting The Writing Web, a newly-developed service that supports Year 6 and 7 students in writing for their own audiences and purposes.  Thank you #WritingRocks for the opportunity, I look forward to participating in your future Twitter chats!

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Q1) Is there a case for children choosing their own writing topics? What might be the benefits?

  • Several contributors highlighted the importance of children writing from a position of expertise. If children choose to write about a familiar topic they are passionate about / that matters to them, this will impact positively on their engagement levels and motivation, leading to better writing outcomes.
  • As educators, we must step aside, for children to understand that they have ‘permission’ to lead the learning. Encourage and acknowledge that they are experts or have a keen interest in a subject or topic and nurture this knowledge towards making good choices about writing
  • Writing is a tool of communication and content and form of authentic communication is determined by the writer.
  • Children who are already experts in a subject will have a lot to write about, making it easier for them to practise the skills they need to develop and refine to become better writers. This might be a more efficient method of teaching writing than having to ‘teach the stimulus’ so often.
  • Children in the EYFS are actively engaged with their learning, as they have a sense of ownership of it. Teachers suggest that this is harder to achieve in KS2.
  • Don’t teach children one Teach them how to use any book for writing. Many teachers ask children to create a bank of ideas, which they draw from in planning sessions, whilst this is not individual choice per se, there is benefit in sharing why certain ideas were selected.
  • One contributor invited children to share and display their interests on a class poster, demonstrating the fact that their ideas are valued and that they can write for and learn from each other.
  • Blogging with an active audience appears to be a solution to offering true freedom of choice and authentic opportunities to make connections. It is imperative that children know who they are writing for and why, as this sense of purpose will inform every subsequent choice they make as writers.
  • Giving children an insight to the different choices a writer has throughout the writing process is always powerful and should include making decisions about content. Some teachers create a ‘toolkit’ as they write, as authentic writing is an organic, creative process.
  • Like adults, children have got to be given the chance to find their spark if they are to achieve real independence as effective creative writers, so that their writing is imaginative not prescriptive. The children who find it most difficult to come up with ideas are the ones who are never asked to.  Perhaps therefore we as teachers can be disappointed with children’s outcomes when given choice at first, because they haven’t been taught how to do it and had enough practice.  Quality fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as practical and creative experiences can provide a possible impetus for children who find it difficult to generate their own ideas.
  • Having choice contributes to children’s enjoyment, motivation and confidence, which is a great baseline from which to create meaningful writing.
  • Some teachers have experience of initiatives such as Free Write Friday. They acknowledged that these can provide opportunities for children to write for pleasure and develop their writing fluency.  It is important that the stages of the retained writing process are employed in such instances, if children are to recognise the importance of editing and publishing.

Q2) How could we help children have confidence in self-choice? Would we as teachers feel a loss of control and would that be significant?

This question received a limited response, however:

  • @Rosemarycalm had a wonderful and positive perspective on teaching writing,suggesting that if you scaffold and model in the early stages the children will be more confident to innovate as the year goes on. Then teachers should feel proud to hand over control.
  • How often do we genuinely model generating and developing ideas, as opposed to presenting children with a bank of ‘fully formed’ resources from the outset?

Q3) How can we find safe and supportive audiences for children’s writing? 

  1. Build A Community Of Writers.
  2. Every Child Seen As A Writer.
  3. Reading, Sharing And Talking About Writing.
  • Build a community of writers by teaching children to give and receive constructive feedback to their peers; a supportive forum ultimately starts within your class.
  • Photocopying work and sending it home is often very appreciated. Spend time teaching the children how to critique each other’s work so it is supportive.
  • Children could create a micro publishing company in partnership with library: logo design, branding, publicity etc. Anthologies in library with info about methods/techniques for enabling kids to write There is lots of scope for purposeful writing and promoting the connections between reading (and libraries) and writing. As a bonus, there’s a receptive audience for their writing as part of the deal!

Q4) How can we successfully promote and value children’s Home Writing?  Do Class Writing and Home Writing ever merge and if so, how is this managed in class?

  • The potential of home writing can often be missed. It can reveal so much about a child’s interests, choice and motivation.
  • Blogs can work well as a crossover between Home writing and class writing. Many excellent teachers encourage blogging in their classes but they often decide what they want the students to write about, devising carefully thought out ‘invitations’ to blog. The Writing Web model demands students choose and develop their own blog content.
  • One school has set up an email account for parents to screen shot work and send it in.
  • Contributors emphasised the importance of providing children with the space and time to share their Home Writing, whilst acknowledging the associated timetabling constraints. Modelling our own home writing too.

If you liked this blog-post, you should also read: Teaching Writing: What Actually Is Authentic Writing?

What Teachers Do To Make Every Child Feel Like A Writer

Teachers must help children to perceive themselves as writers before they are able to write for themselves – Frank Smith

The world is not divided into the people who know how to write and those who don’t. – Philip Gross

As part of our ongoing work on building a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, we have been reflecting on the second principle of our Writing For Pleasure manifesto:

High Expectations: Seeing Every Child As A Writer (2)

Effective writing teachers hold high achievement expectations for all writers. They see all children as  writers and, from the first, teach strategies that lead to greater independence. They make the purposes and audiences for writing clear to children for both their class and personal writing projects. They teach what writing can do. They also promote the social aspects of writing and peer support in their classrooms.

What do you need to consider as a teacher to ensure you are creating an inclusive environment where all apprentice writers can flourish?

By reading, amongst others, Gadd’s wonderful work on what is critical in the effective teaching of writing, we are able to offer some questions that might be worth reflecting on below. If you’ve written about children being writers yourself or would like to contribute, you’re welcome to use the comments section below.

Finally, at the end, we have provided references which are great reading if ensuring every child is a writer sounds like something you’d like to learn more about.

How do you make children feel like writers in your classroom?

  • Establish positive relationships with all learners (Burchinal et al 2002; Cornelius-White, 2007).
  • Allow all children an opportunity to share, perform and/or publish their writing products (including class and personal writing projects) with their peers.
  • Employ mixed-ability, interest-based groupings and opportunities for sharing and for the discussion of writing amongst peers.
  • Believe that despite their circumstances, all children have interests, passions and idiosyncrasies which contribute to their funds of knowledge and that these funds of knowledge can be used by children in their writing (Dyson, 2003; Grainger, et al 2013; Leung & Hicks, 2014).
  • Tend to believe more strongly than other teachers that all learners can achieve if they receive appropriate support from the teacher.

How do your class writing projects make every child feel like a writer?

  • Plan writing projects to ensure children have some ownership and agency over their project.
  • Provide opportunities to learn new material.
  • Give all children challenging writing projects to undertake.
  • Set up specific writing process goals that all children in the class can achieve.
  • Monitor the expectations you communicate to learners on a near daily basis.
  • Ensure a supportive and social learning environment in which to write (children who feel emotionally secure and can communicate effectively with their teachers are better able to devote their energies and attention to writing – Burchinal et al 2002).

Do you have any resources or strategies that help children feel like authentic writers?

  • Provide writing strategies and helpful writerly advice through verbal feedback (pupil-conferences) to aid children’s writing.
  • Provide instructional strategies and resources which promote self-regulation, greater independence and adoption of a personal writing process.
  • Give access to high-quality writing examples and a rich classroom library.

How do you model writerly behaviour and how do you talk about writing with your children?

  • Provide: smiles, head nods, positive body language, eye contact, friendliness, clue giving, repetition, rephrasing, more praise and less criticism to all children.
  • Talk as writer to writer.

How could a mastery perspective towards writing make children feel more like real writers? 

  • See writing more as mastery through repeated practice and so give children more time, space and opportunities to develop their writing.

As a result of these types of interactions and expectations of children, Cornelius-White (2007) claims that teachers should see an increase in children’s participation, initiation into the writing community, satisfaction in their learning, motivation to write, higher self-esteem, and better social connections with their fellow writers.

What can people read to find out more about ensuring every child is a writer?

Growth Through English by John Dixon

A summary of a great meet up (before twitter meets existed) at Dartmouth between UK and US teachers in the late 1960s. This Dartmouth meet up looked to reflect on the teaching of apprentice writers and is an absolutely fascinating and thought provoking read in today’s context. 

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The Myth Of The Deprived Child by Herbert Ginsburg

A book which holds the highest possible regard and expectations of children regardless of their circumstances

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Writing Voices: Creating Communities of Writers by Teresa Cremin & Debra Myhill

An absolute must read for anyone interested in creating communities and rich environments for writing to take place.

Build a Literate Classroom by Donald Graves 

The gold standard of creating writers and a writers’ classroom! Only £1.17 on Amazon!

In The Middle by Nancie Atwell

A seminal text on creating a climate for writers to flourish – perfect for KS2 and KS3.

No More ‘I’m Done’ Fostering Independent Writers In The Primary Grades by Jennifer Jacobson

A perfect text for creating communities of writers in KS1/LKS2 – really accessible read.

Joining the Literacy Club: Further Essays into Education by Frank Smith

This text is a bit more heavy going but is infinitely fascinating and thought provoking

References:

  • Burchinal, M., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Pianta R., Howes., C (2002) Development of Academic Skills from Preschool Through Second Grade: Family and Classroom Predictors of Developmental Trajectories In Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 415 – 436
  • Cornelius-White, J., (2007) Learner-Centered Teacher-Student Relationships Are Effective: A Meta-Analysis In Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 113–143
  • Dyson, A., (2003) Popular Literacies and the ‘all’ children: rethinking literacy development for contemport childhoods Language Arts 81:100-9
  • Grainger, T., Goouch, K., Lambirth, A., (2003) Playing the game called writing: children’s views and voices. English in Education, 37(2):4-15
  • Gadd, M., (2014) ‘What is critical in the effective teaching of writing?‘ The University Of Auckland
  • Leung, C., Hicks, J., (2014) Writer Identity and Writing Workshop A Future Teacher and Teacher Educator Critically Reflect In Writing & Pedagogy Vol. 6 583-60
  • 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.

 

A Writing For Pleasure Manifesto

A Writing For Pleasure Manifesto

This weekend we were fortunate enough to attend and talk at The Oxford Writing Spree. It was a meeting of teachers, writers and writer-teachers who are passionate about the potential for a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.

There was a fantastic range of people who spoke on this subject. These included, amongst others:

  • Nikki Gamble @nikkigamble
  • Teresa Cremin @TeresaCremin
  • Liz Chamberlin @liz_loch
  • CLPE (Louise Johns-Shepherd & Charlotte Hacking) @clpe1 @Loujs @charliehacking
  • Claire Williams @_borntosparkle
  • Martin Galway @GalwayMr
  • Tim Roach @MrTRoach
  • Ed Finch @MrEFinch
  • Avron (Alicia Stubberfield) @arvonfoundation
  • Adam Guillain @aguillain
  • Pie Corbett @PieCorbett

To take this meeting further, we have produced a Writing For Pleasure manifesto. We would like to invite the community to respond to it. To stretch, expand, critique, question and champion the different aspects that have been included. This is so we can start conversations and build on the consensus that was beginning to form at the Spree. 

  • If you’d like to give an informal response to the manifesto, please leave a comment below.
  • Alternatively, please tweet @WritingRocks_17 to begin conversations on Twitter.
  • Finally, if you’d like a formal response to the manifesto to appear on this post please email us at literacyforpleasure@gmail.com This can be in the form of a document or a link to a blog post. We will make this response available here.

Please find the manifesto available to download below:

DOWNLOAD HERE —-> A Writing For Pleasure Manifesto

Happy Writing!