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Learning to Write

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Lucy MacArthur-Jones

on 8 March 2017

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Transcript of Learning to Write

Learning to Write
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Look at the examples of children's writing that you found for HW. Identify and classify types of spelling error: some might be –
homophone confusion
phonemic substitution
missing silent letters
problems with suffixes
letter reversal/confusion/transposition
salient (only using the most noticeable sounds in a word and missing out other letters)
(there are others)
Spelling errors are rarely random
You should be as descriptive as possible when looking at children’s spelling patterns.
Lesson 4- Handwriting
Lesson 1
For your glossaries:
Fine motor skills
- the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers
Gross motor skills
- gross movements come from large muscle groups and whole body movement. These skills develop in a head-to-toe order. The children will typically learn head control, trunk stability, and then standing up and walking
There is some evidence that boys’ fine motor skills develop later than girls’ (whereas boys’ gross motor skills tend to be better earlier). How might this impact learning to write?
What do children need to learn about writing?
Mukherji p103
What is the importance of hand-eye coordination?
Mukherji p104
Read Dyson's 3 stages of writing and learn them
Now read and highlight the features of emergent writing, it is worth learning these too
Dr Kathy Barclay has identified seven stages of children’s writing. (1996).

1. The first stage is SCRIBBLING.
These are random marks on a page. To encourage children at this stage, adults can offer blank paper and writing tools and talk with children about their writing.

2. The second stage is MOCK HANDWRITING.
This often appears with drawings. Children produce lines of wavy scribbles. This stage resembles cursive writing and may be revisited at a later time.

3. The third stage is MOCK LETTERS.
Children make letter-like shapes that resemble conventional alphabet letters.

4. The next stage is CONVENTIONAL LETTERS.
The first word to appear is usually the child’s first name. Adults will often see a string of letters across a page that a child reads as a sentence.

5. This is known as the INVENTED SPELLING stage.
As the child writes conventional letters, they begin to cluster letters to make words. Although the words may not appear conventional, children will often ask an adult, “What did I write?”

Children begin to associate sounds with the letters.

7. The last stage of writing is the CONVENTIONAL SPELLING stage.
This occurs as the child’s approximated spellings become more and more conventional.

Kroll (1981) – recognised 4 stages of development:

Preparatory stage (approx. 4-7)
 Basic motor skills develop and principles of the spelling system acquired.

Consolidation stage (approx. 7-9)
 Children begin to use writing to express what they can already say in speech. Writing closely reflects the patterns of spoken language. There may be colloquialisms, strings of clauses linked by “and”, unfinished sentences.

Differentiation stage (9+)
 Writing begins to diverge from speech and develops its own patterns and organisation. Errors are common at first, as children learn new standards and experiment with new structures found in their reading. Their written work becomes fuller and more diverse as they encounter the need to produce different kinds of writing for different audiences and purposes.
 At this point children need guidance about the structures and functions of written language.
 They realise that writing is a medium where there is time to reflect, re-think and to use language as a way of shaping thought. They therefore begin to draft/revise/edit.

Integration stage (14+)
 Writers have such a good command of language that they can vary their stylistic choices at will and develop a personal ‘voice’. This continues to develop throughout adult life.


There are several different but parallel systems that break down the developmental stages of spelling into understandable categories. This one uses four stages although there are perfectly good systems divided into six and eight categories.

Stage One: Exploration
• Pre-letter writing.
• Random writing on page -letters, symbols, numbers.
• May use repetition of familiar letters such as the letters in child's name.
• Uses left-to-right directionality.
• Uses random sight words.

Stage Two: Semiphonetic
• Leaves random spaces in writing.
• Uses a few known words in correct place - i.e. names.
• Shows letter-sound correspondence.
o uses initial consonants.
o uses partial mapping of word (2 or 3 letters).
Stage Three: Phonetic
• Total mapping of letter-sound correspondence.
• Vowels are omitted when not heard.
• Writes quickly.
• Spaces words correctly.
• Letters are assigned strictly on the basis of sound br=bar or prt=party.
Stage Four: Transitional
• Vowels appear in every syllable.
• Silent "e" pattern becomes fixed.
• Inflectional endings like "s", "ing" are used.
• Common letter sequences are used (ay, ee, ow).
• Child moves toward visual spelling.
• May include all, but reverse some, letters (from=form).

Look at Kroll's and Barclay's writing stages: these enable you to place a theoretical context to real data (which you might be asked to write about in the exam)
What's the difference?
Classifying spelling patterns/errors
HW- Find several examples of your own or other children's writing between Yrs R-3 (Age 4-8) for next lesson
Read Peccei's commentary on spelling
Write the alphabet using the cursive script including lead-ins/entrance strokes and lead-outs/exit strokes
Mukherji p106
For your glossaries:
Ensure understanding of differences between ‘
infant print
’ and ‘
cursive’ script
and some of the issues associated with this (Mukherji pp. 118-120).
Go through some of the features of early years teaching of handwriting – particularly the families of shapes (p. 159 of Primary Literacy Strategy on Teaching Writing) and ascenders and descenders (p.162)
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