Teaching children to write creatively is not something that you can complete at any one particular grade level. It involves a series of planned situations and activities that gradually lead to independent writing. From as early as preschool a child's writing begins to take shape as he learns to interpret print. As he grows his understanding of that print is translated into a greater command of the language. Essentially, as he progresses through the grade levels his writing unfolds as a more personal stamp.
As a teacher my goal is to develop the writing skills of my students. This means that I must slowly direct each child to writing independently. To do so I must model good writing, write with them collaboratively, guide their efforts and allow them to work on their own. These stages are summed up under the following headings:
- Modeled Writing
- Shared Writing
- Guided Writing
- Independent Writing
1. Modeled Writing
In this initial step I must demonstrate to my students that writing is the capturing of thoughts. As I think aloud I record what I actually want to say. Of course, conventions of spelling and grammar are very important, but these can be overlooked only to facilitate the free flow of ideas. Also it is rather helpful to students to generate a list of needed words on the chalkboard. As I model good writing behaviors I direct their focus on the importance of thinking through what I want to say.
Shared Writing allows the students to contribute ideas to create one piece with the assistance of the teacher as scribe. This allows them to view the behavior of writers during the writing process.
3. Guided Writing
In guided writing the teacher continually provides feedback to students to monitor the writing process. As students write the teacher asks questions that provoke thought and generate ideas. The teacher may look at writing conventions and word choice of students or even the completeness of ideas expressed. This guidance is what makes students become better writers!
4. Independent Writing
Students are provided with frequent opportunities to write independently. They experiment with language and tweak their writing skills to resemble good writers. As students write on their own they learn how to edit their drafts in an effort to create a polished piece.