Genre-Booklets: Helping Both Children & Teachers To Write

What Are Genre Booklets?

Genre-based approaches to teaching writing…achieve spectacular improvements in student outcomes, from twice to more than four times expected rates of learning’ (Martin & Rose, 2007, p.1)

Our booklets teach children the meaning and purposes behind certain text-types. They make this information explicitly available to teachers but are also really child friendly.

The booklets share with children the characteristics of the different text-types. They cover the most popular genres across the curriculum and also children’s favourite genres. They explain the social goals of the text type without telling children exactly what to do! Instead, they help children enjoy and develop their own ideas and make their writing academically successful.

I’ve used these genre booklets and think they are utter genius. Brilliant, so thank you!

These booklets are brilliant. They are a ‘show rather than tell’ of how to write.

They are definitely worth every penny, so much work has gone into them! 

Continue reading “Genre-Booklets: Helping Both Children & Teachers To Write”

Why The Over Use Of Writing Stimuli & Book Planning Could Be Damaging Children’s Writing Potential.

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This post was originally written in 2016.

I should start out by stating quite clearly that this is not an article advocating for the removal of stimuli or book inspired writing projects from classrooms. Instead, this article will reflect on what contemporary writing research is telling us about how these dominant writing practices may need to be adjusted to be at their most successful and meaningful (Young & Ferguson in press).

We begin with some wise words from Donald Graves, writer, teacher, researcher and thinker: ‘children want to write’ (1983 p.1). However, the provision of cross-curricular topics or stimuli for writing in schools could be inhibiting children’s desire to write and the quality of the writing they produce. Children are failing to realise that they can do more with writing than simply imitate or produce ‘writing to order’.

Continue reading “Why The Over Use Of Writing Stimuli & Book Planning Could Be Damaging Children’s Writing Potential.”

What If Almost Everything We Thought About The Teaching Of Writing Was Wrong?

We have moved! This blog is now archived. You can visit our new website at http://www.writing4pleasure.com

This article was originally written in 2016.

Why Do We Write?

Language merely reflects our way of trying to make sense of the world. – Frank Smith

Why do we write? Probably a question worth asking oursevles more often than we probably do. Frank Smith (1982) says ‘writing touches every part of our lives‘ and that that’s why we write. For me, we are moved to write for these reasons:

  1. One of the first reasons we write is because it is a tool for communication in culture. It gives us the ability to share information over time and space with multiple individuals (explaining, recounting & opinion).
  2. It can also be used as a permanent record or as a statement (e.g. in history, geography  & science genres).
  3. The third cultural aspect for writing is artistry (narrative and poetry).
  4. Finally, there is also the personal aspect to writing. Writing allows us all to reflect, express our perceptions of self, to socially dream or to be critical (reflection and memoir).

By writing, we find out what we know; what we think. Writing is an extremely efficient way of gaining access to that knowledge that we cannot explore directly. – Frank Smith (1982, p.33)

Continue reading “What If Almost Everything We Thought About The Teaching Of Writing Was Wrong?”

Meeting Children Where They Are: Using Pupil Conferencing.


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Why Written Feedback Might Not Be As Effective As Verbal Conferencing

Traditionally, the teaching of writing has been a thankless task. For the writing teacher, it has meant long, long hours of marking and commenting on student compositions, with little reason for confidence that this effort would have any positive effect.” – Bereiter & Scardmalia

As Frank Smith (1982, p.203) states: writing is not learned in steps. There is no ladder of separate and incremental skills that if written down for a child they will automatically apply and so ascend. Writing develops as an individual develops, in many directions, continually, usually inconspicuously, but occasionally in dramatic and unforeseeable spurts. And like individual human development, writing requires nourishment and encouragement rather than a rushed scribbled jointing on a pupil’s writing piece.

Research (Fisher et al, 2010, Jean, Tree, & Clark, 2013, Oxford University – Education Endowment Fund, 2016 ) seems to indicate that swathes of ‘after-the-event’ written feedback is neither efficient nor effective. As Dylan Wiliam says, feedback like this is often the equivalent of telling an unsuccessful comedian that they need to be funnier. So how are teachers meant to provide meaningful and accountable feedback to their pupils despite the pressures of ‘after-the-event’ written feedback?

Continue reading “Meeting Children Where They Are: Using Pupil Conferencing.”