Children from this progressive struggle, they become

Children
must be readers AND writers, using writing is a crucial skill for students to
learn. How does writing help students? Writing provides another outlet for
students to be creative and express themselves.  “The process of writing words draws on the
same underlying word knowledge as the process of reading words. This is why unaided
writing supports students’ phonics and word recognition development; this is
also why opportunities to write and spell should be part of word learning
programs.” (Rasinski, pg. 248)

Independent writing helps students
learn words and how letters and sounds in words work together; from this
progressive struggle, they become better readers. Writing supports the spelling program – it gives children
a reason to learn how to spell. This ability in turn enhances students writing
because they do not have to concentrate on the mechanics of words but instead
be totally involved in the creative process.

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How can teachers help students become
better writers? Students need to know for themselves the value of writing and
the importance of writer’s workshop. Students should recognize the significance
of writing in his or her own life through labels, posters, maps, menus,
coupons, bulletin boards; students can be taught at home and at school the
importance of writing.

In order for students to WANT to
write, they need to have experiences that they are excited to write about, this
comes from the events in their life. Most importantly, to help our students
become writers the classroom they are in should be supportive, students should
be able to communicate freely; the student’s teacher should enjoy writing and
enjoy teaching writing.

What is the teacher’s role when it
comes to writing? Writing skills should not be taught in isolation, but rather
as opportunities arise. Writing instruction should be in place for students to
develop and practice grammar and spelling skills in context. Writing
instruction contains modeling and support, teachers are the facilitators of
writing, they promote a creative effort in students. Students adopt the
attitude of their teacher, therefore if the teacher routinely composes writing
with the class, the students will see that their teacher values writing;
teachers must write if they expect their students to write.

Students are affected by several
factors when it comes to their ability to write, what are those factors? How
can educators accommodate for setbacks along the way?  One of main reasons students struggle with
writing is oral language proficiency, “children who are rated above average in
their use of oral language are also rated above average in writing, producing
more words per assignment. Those below average in verbal ability also rate the
same in writing.” (Donoghue, 2009)

“Some students reading achievement
level has a large impact on their ability to write; students who read well, write
well. Whereas, those who struggle with reading, typically struggle with
writing. The ability for children to write often depends on their access to
hearing and reading GOOD books.” (Donoghue, 2009) A balance between the genres
will aid in the student’s ability to write.

Although good writing demands
numerous skills, children need four major skills to achieve success in their
writing efforts. “Generally, these skills are taught as the opportunity arises
and in a small group setting or as a whole group.” (Donoghue, 2009) Students
should be able to write a sentence; this ability begins to develop in the
primary grades with practice in oral language as children use sentences that
are clearly spoken and make sense. As students start to put their thoughts into
sentences, they will begin to learn how to use both upper and lower-case
letters when writing. “Throughout the primary grades, students learn many uses
for capital letters, ranging from capitalizing their own first and last names,
as well as the names of other people, to the use of capitals in letter writing,
beginning with the inside address.” (Donoghue, 2009)

“Learning capitalization rules and
how to use punctuation marks are both developmental processes. Children learn
punctuation marks because these marks replace in writing the various intonation
patterns students use commonly in oral expression. Starting in preschool,
students start to notice punctuation marks and can distinguish them from
alphabet letters. In kindergarten, students start to learn end-of-sentence
punctuation marks and how to use the properly.” (Donoghue, 2009)

Most commonly now, students are
learning to take responsibility for selecting their topics for writing; this task
is accomplished through the writing process. Teachers guide students through the
five stages of writing: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.

The amount of time a child spends on each stage of writing truly depends on the
child, their writing ability and the topic they’ve chosen to write about.

During the prewriting stage,
students are moving from thinking about their topic to writing about it;
students are generating ideas and fueling their motivation for their writing
project. Once students have organized their ideas, they can begin the drafting
stage of writing – students are putting their ideas on paper and reorganizing
their thoughts and conclusions. Next, students move through the revising stage
where they rework their draft, making changes only to the content of their
writing. Revising means to “see again,” therefore revising is not a punishment,
rather a time to polish their masterpiece.

Editing is where students can dive
into the mechanical aspects of their writing. This means they are evaluating
the spelling, punctuation, paragraph indention, capitalization, sentence
structure, grammar and format. “In the early grades, most editing is done in
conference with the teacher since many beginning compositions are relatively
brief, requiring less editing time.” (Donoghue, 2009)

Finally, after completing the first
four stages of the writing process, students are ready to publish their work.

Publishing student work means creating a final draft and sharing it with the
appropriate audience. “Publishing is an essential component of the writing
process because it helps students become aware of the significance of their
work. Otherwise, they may believe that what they write only fulfills a
teacher-made assignment and has no importance of its own.” (Donoghue, 2009)