The developing writer stage can be frustrating, but also very satisfying at the same time. Children’s progress during this stage from one year to the next is amazing. This stage typically lasts longer than the first, but if children see it for what it is—a stage they must go through—then they will begin to see the broader picture and they will become great writers.
WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!:
Children in this stage are more cautious and nervous about their writing. Remind them that this step is where they get the ideas out of their head! Any focus on spelling and content will come in the EDIT step. Parents and teachers should be positive about their children’s efforts to write.
Have them read aloud to themselves whatever they have written and make any corrections, including filling in missing words or taking out repetitive words. Have children check their spelling and punctuation. Have them read what they have written to a friend to see if it makes sense or if they can find any grammatical errors. Encourage elaboration, write more details!
If the “working copy” gets too messy, have them make another draft. Teach kids that you will go back and forth from writing to editing. Write and edit, that is how their papers get better!
Children love to make things SPARKLE! Give lots of opportunities to finish and then share their writing. Encourage best handwriting in this step or type on the computer.
- Understand that writing is for more than just stories
- Use more text than illustration
- Have a growing vocabulary
- Make a big deal about spelling things correctly
- Can be slowed down by handwriting
- Write better as they become more proficient readers
- Like to write stories, poems, letters, etc.
- Like to change their stories into plays, shape books, information books, advertisements, etc.
Logan is a developing writer. He likes to read as well as to be read to. Writing is much harder for him because although he has good ideas, he struggles to get them on paper. He writes slowly and he worries about what his handwriting looks like, Logan is always nervous that he will spell the words wrong.
When Logan is assigned a topic that is not of this liking, he will take short cuts. His sentences are choppy and general. Logan likes to use new words when writing his stories, however, when given the chance to write about a topic of his choice, he chooses something that will be popular with his peers. How he perceives his peers is very important at this stage. He may also choose something that he has an interest in. Logan still struggles with the writing process, but he is beginning to see its worth.
Editing, sometimes, feels like an attack on his self-esteem, rather than a natural part of the writing process. He loves to make his papers and stories SPARKLE and the choice of size and font type are important. Everything needs to be BIG! He is more critical of his artwork. He wants his drawings to be realistic, and feels frustrated when he lacks the artistic skill to make them so.
Logan’s teacher knows that to find and develop his writer’s voice, Logan must ‘try on’ different voices. To do this, she introduces varied projects, such as imitating other authors, trying his hand at poetry, and working many specific grammar lessons into his individualized writing. The teacher knows that the more Logan writes and learns the “Writing Traffic Light” process, the easier it will become for him, and thereby will be more helpful to him. Logan’s teacher encourages him to work with partners through the editing process, as well as for just bouncing off ideas. The room is a buzz with writing activity. He types his stories and projects on the computer. He is learning to not be afraid to edit and correct his typed papers. He likes to elaborate and add more details.
Logan writes in his writing journal each day. He writes things down that interest him, or makes lists of things such as his favorite books, funny sounding words, favorite places, things he wishes for. The teacher shows him how to transplant his really good ideas from his writing journal into stories, poems, or artwork. He is learning to really enjoy writing and to find the writer within himself.
When Logan gets to the SPARKLE stage, he prints out his final project on nice paper. He sits in the author’s chair and reads it with great expression to his audience. After a lot of work he has had great success, and it shows on his face!