The Playbook of Literacy Success highlights the necessary knowledge, skills, and practice required to win the game of literacy development. Great players gain confidence when they own and use a broad vocabulary and a strong grammar foundation. These two core concepts serve to prepare all players for one of the greatest plays of all: composition! If you missed Part I and Part II of the Playbook of Literacy Success, you might want to go back to the starting line to catch up with some calisthenics we call Shurley English Jingles and then move into our version of the wishbone formation, which we call the Question and Answer Flow. Today, our focus is on composition and the writing process.
We use the term “process” in writing instruction because it takes time—time and practice, first with basic skills and then moving to complex skills. In some past blog posts, we have shared how you can use a figurative “magnifying glass” on sentence writing with the Shurley English Sentence Blueprints. This strategy can be the start of something BIG for writers. Once mastered, you are helping youngsters literally build skills into their own writing process. Great sentence writing leads to great paragraph writing. Great paragraph writing leads to great compositions.
Reflective teachers can take this opportunity to model reflective thinking for their students because, as we have said before, teaching kids to write is the same thing as teaching them to think. As students apply their skills gained from Sentence Blueprints, we run the “practice drills” for each of the next several gameplays. Young writers practice their organizational skills, using a two- and three-point writing model. As they gain confidence, the content becomes a key player in their writing development. Learners, who now understand how to sequence their writing, have a wide-open door for writing responsively or creatively. Below are some important goals to keep in mind as you coach your budding writers.
Checklist for Shurley English Composition:
Use the teacher manual to guide your writing practice;
Engage students in brainstorming activities to generate writing topics;
Double-check students' ability to follow the writing process;
Give students opportunities to write in all genres according to the manual;
Use the writing evaluation guides as writing rubrics;
Conduct frequent writing conferences and provide feedback;
Set up "finished" and "in-process" writing folders for your students;
Maintain a writing portfolio for each student, containing examples of each kind of writing;
Incorporate Discovery and Across the Curriculum activities;
Encourage correct English use in both spoken and written forms;
Guide students in their research of content to write about.
The writing process will become more automatic for students as they gain experience and confidence. One of the most important things you can do as a teacher is to provide clear, concise instruction and multiple writing opportunities so that students can repeat the steps of the writing process often enough to own them. Always remember that the more frequently the brain utilizes a learning path, the deeper the knowledge is embedded in the long-term memory. Write on!
For more information about Shurley English Writing, click here.