Teaching Early Writers: from Program to Professional Practice

Teaching Early Writers: from Program to Professional Practice

In this second part of the podcast, Sharon and team delve into various strategies for nurturing writing skills in Foundation year students. One key concept introduced is the use of “sentence stems.” These stems provide young children with simple sentence starters, helping them initiate their writing and incorporate high-frequency words. The ultimate aim is to develop reading and writing fluency with 25+ high-frequency words by the end of the Foundation year.

The importance of a “Word Wall” is discussed, enabling students to independently reference high-frequency words and take ownership of their spelling. Alphabet strips and individualised tools for letter formation are introduced, allowing students to practise and reinforce their letter-writing skills and fostering a sense of ownership.

Foundation teacher, Grace, and her students have transitioned from single-page writing to creating books, instilling a sense of authenticity and pride in their work. They’ve even turned a class project into a physical book to be shared.

The concept of allowing students to continue working on their writing or adding more details to their drawings when they finish quickly is highlighted. This approach keeps students engaged and prevents rushing through their work to gain free time.

Sharing and reflecting on their writing is emphasised, with Shared Reading and paired reading, encouraging students to take pride in their work and strive for improvement.

Throughout the podcast, Grace underscores the value of mentor texts, where authors serve as teachers for young writers. Literature is used to inspire students and showcase excellent writing examples, encouraging them to draw from these texts to enhance their own writing.

The hosts stress the significance of creating a positive learning culture and focusing on individual student progress rather than rigidly predefined goals. This approach fosters independence and a love for writing.

The podcast also presents ten key elements for teaching writing, such as building confidence in drawing and writing, generating writing ideas, self-evaluation, promoting independent work, exploring techniques from other writers, and self-identifying as a writer. They emphasise the importance of fostering a classroom environment where students are enthusiastic about writing and deeply connected to the content.

Grace’s commitment to professional development and her thoughtful classroom choices are commended. In summary, the podcast highlights the transformative power of recognising children as writers, enabling students to view themselves as writers, and nurturing their writing skills through a combination of strategies and a supportive, encouraging learning environment.

Listen in to Ep 102 on:

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