Ten Truths about Writing

Writing is so important in our daily life, while only a few poeple that know some facts about writing. Let’s begin with what may be a review for you on some important facts that we know about writing.
Ten Truths About Writing
1.      Just as with oral language, writing develops in stages. The more writers practice and the more support they have, the better they get.
2.      All writers must consider speaker, audience, and purpose. Who are you? To whom are you writing? What’s the message that you are conveying? A writer needs to be clear about these elements in shaping a piece of writing.
3.      Writers select interesting topics to write about, authentic reasons to write, and have regular opportunities to write (Temple, Ogle, Crawford &Freppon, 2005). Writers select topics based on their interests. They want to convey something about a topic of interest and are probably not so eager to write about an assigned topic. They have a reason for writing about a specific topic—it could be to share a passion, to find out more through writing about it, or a number of other reasons. Internal reasons for writing are more compelling than external ones. Writers need to have opportunities to write regularly. Writing is creative but it is also disciplined. The discipline of sitting down to write at a regular time helps develop the creativity and the expectation that one will in fact write.
4.      Writers go through the process of brainstorming or prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. While publishing is the final stage, the other stages do not necessarily occur in linear order. For example, a writer can brainstorm, then write a draft, then brainstorm some more, then revise a portion, then revise the draft, etc. However, for young writers, the writing process is a helpful one to stay close to. It provides a good mental model to follow.
5.      The four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are integrated. Development in one supports development in another.      
6.      Writing can be the most challenging of the four domains of language. Why? Listening and reading are receptive language skills. Speaking and writing are productive language skills. First, it takes more effort to produce than to receive. Second, putting something in writing can be intimidating. It’s there for everyone to see—mistakes and all. Collins (1998) says that writing is a secondary form of discourse. Speech, he suggests, is the primary source of communication and something we do naturally. Writing, then, is one step removed from what comes naturally to us. Humans do not need instruction on how to learn to speak. We do, however, need instruction on how to learn to write.
7.      Students must develop the ability to become as fluent as possible in four domains of writing—poetry, narrative, expository, and persuasive writing. School curriculum typically requires direct instruction on helping students develop some level of competence in each of these domains.
8.      Every writer benefits from assistance. Writers’ workshops tend to be more open-ended and collaborative. Mini-lessons that teachers do in classrooms provide explicit direction or instruction. Mini-lessons model, instruct, or demonstrate specific points.
9.      Writers actively pay attention to other people’s writing. We become more aware of good writing and what makes good writing. We look for strategies that we’re familiar with and begin to notice strategies that we’re not familiar with. It is very beneficial for writers to read and hear other authors’ writings.
10.  All writers want at least some of their work published. For the classroom, this could mean a clean, final edit that you bind in some way, to give students the feel of a published book. As a classroom teacher, be certain to give this opportunity to your students. It is deeply satisfying for writers to see their work in print. It is a source of satisfaction and pride. It also serves as a stimulus for further writing.

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