Emergent Writing from Function to Form
In this presentation, Jane Farrall discusses emergent writing from function to form. She emphasizes the importance of attributing meaning and assuming competence when working with emergent writers. Farrall shares examples of young children who have developed their writing skills through the support and encouragement of adults. She also discusses the use of alternative pencils, such as flip charts and AAC systems, to support emergent writers. Farrall provides guidelines for writing with emergent writers and suggests using meaningful and engaging topics, providing lots of modeling and praise, and focusing on exploration rather than correctness. She also addresses the use of tracing and copying in writing instruction and suggests using apps that promote letter and sound knowledge rather than just tracing and copying. Overall, Farrall emphasizes the importance of making writing a fun and meaningful experience for emergent writers.
In this talk, we will explore the process of emergent writing, focusing on the transition from function to form. We will discuss the importance of attributing meaning and assuming competence in early writing development. We will also examine the three forms of emergent writing and provide practical examples and strategies for supporting emergent writers.
Typical Writing Development
Typical writing development begins with the belief that one is a writer. This belief is fostered through the adult superpowers of attributing meaning and assuming competence. By attributing meaning to a child’s early attempts at writing, we teach them that their writing has value and purpose. This belief is essential for their development as a writer.
As children progress in their writing development, they begin to differentiate between writing and drawing. They learn that print always has meaning and that they can use writing to express their thoughts and ideas. Through continued exposure to print and guided instruction, children start to understand the difference between pictures and print.
Writing with Adults
Writing with adults is an important aspect of emergent writing. By writing with children, adults demonstrate that everything we say can be written. This helps children understand that their thoughts and ideas can be expressed through writing. Writing with adults also teaches children that they are part of a successful writing team and that their contributions are valued.
There are various activities that can be done when writing with adults, such as writing birthday cards, invitations, family books, or fictional stories together. Predictable chart writing is another effective method, where a repeated sentence structure is used and students contribute language to complete the sentence. This helps children understand that print always has meaning and that it can be represented with pictures.
Writing from Adults
Writing from adults involves children observing adults using print for real purposes. This helps children understand the functions of print and how it is used in everyday life. Examples of writing from adults include writing in communication books, leaving notes or lists, and writing emails or messages. By observing adults using print, children learn that writing serves a purpose and has real-world applications.
Writing by Themselves
Writing by themselves is the ultimate goal of emergent writing. It involves children independently generating their own ideas and using the alphabet to express their thoughts and ideas. It is important to note that copying or tracing is not considered writing, as it does not engage the cognitive processes involved in generating ideas and language.
For emergent writers, the focus is on function rather than form. The goal is to teach children that they are writers and that their thoughts and ideas can be expressed through writing. As children progress in their writing development, they begin to understand the importance of letter selection, word length, and other aspects of form.
Alternative pencils, such as flip charts or AAC systems, can be used to support emergent writers who may have motor difficulties or other challenges. It is important to provide a variety of writing opportunities and to celebrate and value children’s writing at every stage of development.
Emergent writing is a complex process that involves the transition from function to form. By attributing meaning and assuming competence, adults can help children develop a belief in themselves as writers. Writing with adults and from adults provides children with real-world examples of how print is used and the functions it serves. Writing by themselves allows children to independently express their thoughts and ideas using the alphabet. By providing support and celebrating their writing, we can help emergent writers develop their skills and confidence.
- Title: Emergent Writing from Function to Form
- Author(s): Jane Farrall
- Author(s)’ affiliation: None
- Publication date: 2019-01-10
- Collection: 2018 FAST Educational Summit