Rebecca Giles, in her popular book, A Young Writer’s World, encourages early educators to not just teach children how to write, but to motivate them to WANT to write. She explains that helping them see themselves as writers, beginning at a very young age, will encourage a life-long love for writing.
Tomas Laurinavicius, in an online article, describes how the need to write well has grown exponentially in the recent past:
"Most folks communicate via email, text, or social media, and hence many millions of pieces of information are flowing between us through the written word every day."
And yet, while knowing how to write well is becoming increasingly important, children’s writing skills have been declining. A 2017 article in the New York Times reports: "Three-quarters of both 12th and 8th graders lack proficiency in writing, according to...a National Assessment of Educational Progress. And 40 percent of those who took the ACT writing exam in the high school class of 2016 lacked the reading and writing skills necessary to complete successfully a college-level English composition class, according to the company’s data."
Creating Early Childhood Classrooms
to get this title for 15% off.
Developing young writers takes energy and creativity, wisdom and strategy, intention and reflection. All are provided here, in abundance. This book is a tool and a resource written by someone who knows the terrain deeply and treats it with reverence.
Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
Francis, good point, highlighting an important perspective based on an all-too-common experience. Giles' book offers many examples of the kind of early literacy experiences you recommend. The emphasis is on filling young children's early experiences with joyful encounters with print and printing, including in artful ways. In the meantime, you might want to check out the Exchange magazine article, "Paper, Paint, Brushes, and... Books? Teaching Art Through Literacy, and Literacy Through Art," by Stephanie Haney or the Exchange magazine article, "Writing Around the Room: Dramatic Play the 'Write' Way," by Rebecca McMahon Giles. We've also made an Exchange Reflections discussion guides based on both of those articles. I'd love to hear your thoughts on those. Thanks!
As someone who could not write until high school, and who benefited greatly from the remedial writing classes I was required to take at college due to my poor SAT literacy scores, I do not support this focus on early writing. In many programs literacy is pushed at the expense of other critical areas, particularly the arts. In fact, for many children in special education the arts are viewed as "specials", meaning they can only be accessed once the "real" learning has occurred. Hopefully Exchange Every Day will post a piece on encouraging the arts for ALL young children in the near future - and maybe the integration of the arts and literacy.