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How to help children learn to write

student practicing writing techniques

How to help children learn to write

As with reading, writing is not a natural skill. We are not born with the ability to write; it is a learned skill that needs to be practiced in order to improve.
First Steps is a commonly used literacy program in primary and high schools. The program contains four common levels of instruction:

  • Modelling
  • Shared writing
  • Guided writing
  • Independent writing

The first stage is the most adult-centric. This means that it involves significant contributions from the teacher or education support worker. As students move through the levels students are expected to write more and more independently.

Modelling
Modelling involves:

  • Demonstrations
  • 5-10 minutes
  • Clear single focus
  • Think aloud
  • Text able to be seen by all
  • Teacher as scribe and author

Hang butchers paper up or use the white board. Tell students what you want the story to be about, who you are writing it for and what type of language you want it to contain. You may also discuss characters, setting and themes. Explain that you will need a beginning, middle and end. Write the introduction while explaining what an introduction contains (setting, character etc.).

Modelling is usually the first thing you will do when beginning a new task with students. It will show them what is expected.

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