Why do we Write in the Early Years?

Just like reading every day is encouraged, fostering a love of writing every day should also be encouraged.

When we write we are present in the moment and our senses are alive.

Learning to write in the early years is a complex and intricate skill. It requires students to think about a topic, sequence ideas and write a piece which voices feelings, enthusiasm, a personal recount or share information. Sentences are formed within a structure which requires a good understanding of punctuation and a strong focus of the sentence making sense. Students learn to use many describing words as they begin to understand the importance words have to engage their reader and audience of their writing.

Clara Calvert and Lexie Giagnorio with Coco

Clara Calvert and Lexie Giagnorio with Coco

My Year 1 students have a new addition to our classroom and her name is Coco. Coco is a beautiful rag doll who has been introduced to our class to encourage the love of writing. Every student has the opportunity to take Coco home during a weekend for a sleepover. The creative opportunities of being present in the moment with Coco can be fully explored and used to stimulate original thought for the students’ writing. On Friday night the adventure begins. It is captured by each student as they publish their entry in the writing book. Again, the skills of punctuation, the use of descriptive words, sequencing events and making sure it makes sense, continues to be the focus. One, we all love in Year 1!

“Rocket Writing” is a recent technique used in our classroom to stimulate writing in all genres. The only instruction given is to write freely about a digital image displayed on our classroom television. Inspiration from our learners comes from viewing this image. The second dimension is sound. Examples include a camp fire with the crackling noises from the fire, the sound of water in a waterfall or the sound of a snow blizzard. There are endless examples of images to inspire writing. The writing then begins!

Rocket Writing in Year 1

Through the use of the visual image and sound, the beginning of a narrative, a recount, an information report, a poem or a song transpires. There is silence in the room and all that can be heard is the sound from the image. When it is time to put pencils down, excitement lights up the classroom as there is a willingness to share their work with their peers. As I am observing my students writing I am heartened by the pure enjoyment on their faces, capturing the experience and moment they feel.

Through these two examples, a number of points have become evident to me.  When you provide students with opportunities to have ownership of their writing experience, they can produce a variety of genre and a desire to write freely, taking risks and enhancing their interest and confidence in writing.

Just like reading every day is encouraged, fostering a love of writing every day should also be encouraged. As Ernest Hemingway, a famous author, once wrote, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Mrs Lola Ballis

Year 1 Teacher

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