Why Writing With Young Children Is Important

Although the words used to describe the various processes may be different, research has indicated that very young readers and writers, as well as adults, demonstrate the same kinds of language features and processes.

Well-known linguist Clay described writing as a “building up process.” Writing is constructed letter by letter, from words to phrases, from sentences to stories and informational texts. Reading, however, is a “breaking down” process.

The text comes to the reader as a whole. The reader must approach the text as a whole entity, construct the meaning, work at the word level, and take apart individual words as needed in order to complete the task of seeking meaning. Approaching reading and writing as integrated processes helps the young child understand the relationship of words, letters, and sounds working together.

When writing is taught, focusing on meaning and reciprocally with reading, children will improve in the following areas:

  • phonemic awareness
  • knowledge of phonics
  • reading for meaning
  • engaging in high-level thinking skills
  • understanding that reading is writing someone wrote

Classroom activities that support the recursiveness of reading and writing instruction include

  • Shared Writing
  • Teacher-modeled writing
  • Journal writing and response
  • Writing down thoughts and questions while reading
  • Demonstrations of story retellings and text summaries

Reading and Writing as Everyday Activities for Children

There are three important tips for teachers on teaching reading and writing together with first graders:

  • Writing helps children read familiar books.
  • Context, pictures, and phonetic clues help children decipher their own writing.
  • Children transfer these strategies to “real” books.

The following activities include lessons that promote reading and writing as everyday activities:

Language Experience:

    • In a Language Experience lesson, the teacher writes down the children’s experiences on a chart. The experiences may come from what the children remember from a book, an experiment, a field trip, an interview, or a previous experience. The words may also be the children’s spoken words after drawing a picture.

The teacher makes sure that the children’s words are written down so that they see that writing becomes a record of the words they have spoken. The children learn to write their own reading. Part of the process includes learning how writers think. Written language includes punctuation and capitalization as part of the instruction so that writing conventions become part of the reading instruction.

The writing and reading is completed in a meaningful context.Language Experience lessons have both pre-reading and writing, as well as during, and post-reading and writing components.

Pre Introduction to vocabulary and concepts ahead of time. Experiences or knowledge from research, field trips, or interviews
During Reading the printed text Composing the first draft
Post Rereading the text to increase understanding Revision to review what was written