Monday, April 5, 2010

Learning to Write as a Child

Although I don't remember much about learning to write when I was in elementary school, I do remember several things. One of the main things that I remember from not only elementary school, but also middle and high school was the time that we got for free writes and independent writing. Many of my teachers put a great emphasis on giving at least 15 minutes of the day for us to write about whatever we wanted. This could be a journal for us, something to write our feelings, or something to simply write what we were going to be doing that day. The mechanics and form were not an important part of these activities, rather it was for us to practice writing and express our ideas. These free writes were not graded, but just something to get us involved with the writing processes and practicing on a regular basis. I really enjoyed this activity throughout my K-12 schooling, and hope to implement something like that into my classroom in the future. The students do not feel the pressure to make a grade, rather they are able to talk about their own experiences without even realizing that they are working on improving their writing skills. Another thing I remember from learning to write when I was younger was the fact that we practiced, practiced, practiced! Early on we spent a lot of time learning how to properly write the letters, which then turned into practicing words, sentence structure, paragraphs, essays, etc. Each of these steps was a building block for the next more complex step so it was important to master each one before moving onto something more complicated. These were several of the things that I remembered from my writing experiences when I was younger.

Narrative writing and expository writing are both very important parts of writing that offer students the practice to work with various types of writing styles. Narrative writing focuses more on telling a story or a part of a story, while expository writing is an oral or written piece that is used to explain, describe, inform, or give information about a specific topic. In order to help students learn to write, we need to offer them different types of writing and genre to use and learn from to give them the best variety of writing. I remember when I was learning to write, I preferred expository writing over narrative writing. I always liked writing about specific facts and doing research on different topics to come up with a written project or paper. I never really enjoyed narrative writing because I had a hard time coming up with my own stories and ideas of how to explain a story. I did practice narrative writing throughout my schooling to try and get better at it, but it definitely was an obstacle for me to overcome in my ability to write. On the opposite, I enjoyed narrative reading rather than expository reading. I enjoyed looking at a novel and reading the story rather than reading a book for facts or specifics. It's funny how the preference changes from reading to writing on expository or narrative reading/writing, but as long as we are exposing students to all types of reading and writing genres, its okay to have a preference and lean towards one more than the other!

1 comment:

  1. I think journaling is an essential element of literacy instruction in the early grades. It really allows students to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe way. It also helps students discover that writing doesn't have to be a means to an end; its a end in itself. Especially for children who have rough lives outside of school, writing can become en essential avenue to utilize in helping make sense of their surrounding worlds. I always enjoyed journal time in elementary school, and I definitely think it will be something I incorporate into my future classrooms. Have you ever seen the movie "Freedom Writers"? I think i mentioned the movie in a previous post, but it really focuses on students' resiliance, and how writing becomes an escape for them. I think children in urban settings would benefit greatly from being encouraged to put their thoughts on paper, freely, and without restraint.