(2009). 'This is different writing': The world outside the classroom in children’s texts.
In: Graham, Judith and Kelly, Alison eds.
Writing Under Control, Volume 3rd Edition.
What constitutes ‘writing’? More than ever before, it encompasses diverse methods to convey a range of messages. Electronic media have created new audiences and purposes for writing, as emailing, texting, and online social networks and forums flourish alongside traditional channels of written communication. The creation of a piece of writing can involve images and sounds which carry as much meaning as words, making messages distinctive and powerful.
The many modes in which children now read, online and visually, will impact on their knowledge and understanding of writing. Just as reading is more than decoding marks on a page, writing is much more than making marks. The Primary National Strategy Framework for Literacy (DfES 2006) acknowledged this when it refered to children ‘Creating and Shaping Texts’ rather than ‘writing’. Furthermore, if we acknowledge the influences of family, language, community, culture and gender as well as digital worlds and multimedia on how children learn to read and the ways in which they read, as teachers of literacy we should be able to extend this same understanding to children’s development as writers.
The chapter invites readers (teachers in training, teachers and all school staff who support children's learning) to reflect on issues in literacy learning which intrigue, delight, puzzle and also sometimes frustrate us.Is it acceptable to use email or texting as a writing activity? How far should I allow children to write about what really interests them? Why do boys tend to be reluctant writers? Is it beneficial to encourage a child who is learning English as an Additional Language to write in her first or home language in school? Whilst this chapter may sometimes raise more questions than provide answers, the author hopes it helps readers to develop confidence in responding to such issues as they are encountered in practice.
The dicussion of what writing means to primary pupils today, and how children's development of writers is influenced by gender, culture and language, includes analyses of case studies of multimodal texts, emailing and blogging.
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