Thursday, August 18, 2011

Original Authors from the Age of Six

We ask children from a very young age to produce writing. Producing writing is, in itself, a complicated art form. Further, we ask children (as young as six years of age!) to produce original works of fiction.

Not that long ago, many teachers still asked children to produce a piece of writing from just a title starting point - 'A Snowy Day' or 'My Holiday Adventure'! Astoundingly many children would go away and do this and I imagine that there are some successful and sophisticated authors out there who started out in early schooling this way.

Teaching children to write from a young age can be an arduous task. It can feel like you are having to write each line with every child: identifying spelling mistake after spelling mistake in each un-punctuated line; marking the sentences where exciting vocabulary needs to be inserted into the sentence to raise the level of the piece; and then asking them to write 'a little bit more'.

Here at 'House of Teacher' we believe that young children can write but must start of doing so in a highly structured way. When talking about structure we may refer to scaffolding. Scaffolding is put up while a the foundations are laid for a new building. Once it can stand on its own , the scaffolding is taken away. Scaffolding writing takes many different forms from resources and pedagogy to active learning and traditional repetition. Whatever the strategy, the aim is always to produce a happy writer.

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