Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rethinking the Meaning of Writing Development- Week 3 Already Ready Book Study

Chapter 3 contained a lot of familiar information and was rather short. I have summarized what I considered "a-ha's" or important points below. 

When a child says they cannot read their own writing, simply explain "It like pretending if you did have words there, what would they say?" 

Restate and clarify what a child "reads" or says is on a page in order to help him grab hold of the meaning. 

Young writers writing is not yet representational in a conventional sense; meaning it is not able to hold meaning on its own without the writer being present. If you, the teacher, don't acknowledge the writing of your young students simply because it's not representational, then you will never see the amazing thinking they are capable of as writers. 

I love this quote- "In order to judge the quality of a literacy experience one must judge the quality of the mental trip taken, not the arrival point per se" (Harste, Woodward, and Burke, 1984, p. 18) If you, the teacher, are only interested in the "arrival point" or finished product, then you will miss all of the different reasons your students engaged and interacted with the text that they composed. 

Related to the same point above- Lucy Calkins (1994) suggests we "teach the writer, not the writing."

Once a child's writing becomes representational, it oftentimes becomes more difficult for teachers to focus on the child as the writer because they're so distracted by all of the needs they see in the transcription of the writing. 

As teachers we need to see the possibilities for nurturing and teaching the writer even before the writing becomes representational.

Spelling development is not writing development. Transcription is only one of the many things a young writer needs to be able to do in order to write.

Oftentimes an emphasis is placed on transcription because spelling development can be clearly seen, while writing development is much less clear. Adults typically have difficulty imagining what the thinking process of writing looks like when it's not connected to actual words written on a page.

Consider looking at the development process as composition development rather than writing development. Why?
- Children need to take part in compositional writing, not just functional writing in order to see themselves as writers.
- Composing is a multi-model process. Composing text involves a combination of written words, art, graphics, layout, audio and video- all of which result in a desired composition when finished.
-Composing a text is not just about writing the words.
Therefore, writing development is not the focus- compositional development is.

In this composition, the child imagined the piece and then used illustrations, words, layout, and craft to think out how should could represent the meaning she wanted to convey. 

Imagine how this piece might have been different or how the child may have felt stifled or insecure as a writer if her teacher had placed all of the emphasis on transcription. 

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