Young Writers Need To Talk

Students need to be encouraged to talk about their personal stories, either to the whole class or a partner. It has been said that in any classroom, reading and writing “floats on a sea of talk.” We must begin by accepting the premise that there is more than one teacher of writing in every classroom and thus promote quality conversations.

Articulating their writing intention, clarifying thoughts and ideas, and practising how they will commence the piece of writing are most valuable undertakings for developing writers. Talk as a pre-writing exercise should not be undervalued. Teachers who rush towards 'silence' do their writers a disservice. Meaningful, focused discussion is exceedingly valuable as a writing lead up activity. This activation of prior knowledge connects the writer to ideas- and ideas are the lifeline every writer needs for survival.

The average student can speak at a rate approximating two to three hundred words per minute. When students tell their stories, they draw on those events with which they are familiar. They quickly become comfortable with their own voice.

When students are able to tell their stories out loud to a supportive audience, it won’t be long until they are keen to write them down and trap them on paper.

Writing Workshop

Aim: To teach students about the value of talk as a pre-writing activity.

Guiding Principle: Writers need to talk about their writing ideas. It helps them to clarify their thoughts prior to engaging in the act of writing.

Mini Lesson: The teacher tells the events of a story to clarify what it is that really needs to be told in a piece of writing. In this way the teacher is providing a model for students to use in clarifying their ideas prior to engaging in writing. Teacher then begins to scribe the opening sentences of a piece of writing.

Pre Writing: Teacher then asks students to work with a partner and share ideas for their own writing. Teacher then selects two students to share with the group their possible writing ideas.

Independent Practice: Students who have decided on their writing topics will be encouraged to return to their desks and commence writing. Those students who require additional support will remain in the meeting area with the teacher.

When all students are engaged in writing, teacher conducts roving conferences and takes anecdotal notes. These notes form the assessment data needed to inform future instruction. During this time the teacher identifies those students who will contribute aspects of their writing during share time.

Share: Teacher and students gather back in the meeting area and review their writing for the day. This is a valuable teaching and learning time. The teacher invites students to share their discoveries and guides the discussion back to the aim of the lesson.

· What did you learn about yourself as a writer today?
· How does talking about your stories and ideas help you as a writer?


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