Speaking For Writing

Apart from the importance of the setting of an appropriate atmosphere for a writing session there must also be a chance to exchange vocabulary and ideas, a chance to discuss, to decide on a genre, to build on earlier skills acquired and to think and to plan and to talk!

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How dreadful the days of yesteryear (or is it still happening), when a teacher writes a title on the board and the children are expected to immediately pick up a pencil or pen and write, maybe with the teacher punctuating the stressful silence with a

“Get on with it!”

“Haven’t you started yet?”

“Stop looking around the room and write!”

Such classroom boredom gives no recognition of the importance to inspire, to explain, to discuss, to hypothesise, to plan, to think, to remember, to consider, to express, to try out, to do some drama, to hear some music, to listen to some sounds, to experience just beforehand, the wind in the trees, the crashing of the waves on the shore, the smell of spices in a matchbox. Nor is this teaching style underpinned by gentle reminders of the next teaching and learning points in the sequence of developing writing skills. It is essential to recognise that a conversation is crucial before, during, and/or after any successful writing experience , so that thoughts are thought and then put into words, well before the pen touches the paper.

Speaking for writing is the seed for inspiring the Wow factor in starting to write and the seed for the Wow factor in the success of the completed writing. It is also the seed for encouraging children to be confident about their writing, and to feel a sense of achievement as they do it, whether it is writing creatively,  filling in a form, composing a speech, or doing calligraphy.

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