Motivating children to write with purpose and passion

Cremin, Teresa (2017). Motivating children to write with purpose and passion. In: Goodwin, Prue ed. The Literate Classroom (4th ed.). Routledge, pp. 131–140.


Teaching writing is a balancing act; real time and space need to be created for developing children’s knowledge about language and the ability to use and apply this knowledge creatively and effectively. The balance between process and product also need to be considered, and the relevance, purpose and pleasure in writing highlighted, so that young learners experience writing as meaningful and see themselves and their teachers as writers with something to say and the means to say it.

Too often in school, children ‘learn to write for the circular purpose of learning to write’ (Frater, 2004) and find little personal purpose or value in it. If writing is reduced to a series of formulae to be followed, and a toolkit approach to the knowledge and skills required is adopted, then the act of writing is divorced from the writer and disinterest and disaffection are likely to develop. As two nine-year-olds somewhat typically commented in one study, ‘I hate being told what to do and how to do it’; ‘I don’t like writing, it’s nothing to do with me’ (Grainger et al., 2003). This chapter focuses on motivating young writers, helping them find pleasure in writing as they use it for their own purposes and communicate with voice and verve.

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