Language Acquisition - Developing writing

Developing Writing - third section of language acquisition (ENGB3)

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Essay layout


  • Stages: Kroll (1981), Barclay (1996)


  • What is the context of the text?
  • How much can you work out and how much cannot be known?
  • Who is the child writing for?
  • Is the text determined by a teacher and doed it show evidence of being guided?
  • Genre of the text - Labov, Rottery, Britton, Perera

Discourse structure

  • Overall structure of the text - how are the ideas organised?
  • How cohesive is the text?
  • Are discourse markers used?
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Essay Layout


  • How appropriate is the register?
  • Is any of the text similar to speech?
  • Is any of the lexis field-specific?
  • Are conjunctions used?
  • Is there description? E.g. adjectives, adverbs, explanatory clauses


  • What sentence types are there?
  • Are sentence boundaries used appropriately?
  • How well is punctuation used?
  • What tenses are used in the text? Are they correctly used or does the child chaange tense at the wrong time?
  • Is speech reproduced correctly?
  • Are passives used as well as actives?
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Essay layout


  • Directionality of writing
  • Overall spatial awareness e.g. are there images included in the text? Is there any headings or a title? How does this match with the appearence of standard texts in the chosen genre?
  • Size of letters - are these consistent?
  • Use of upper and lower case letters
  • Reversal of letters e.g. b and d
  • Joined up or cursive handwriting


  • Describe the spelling choices made by the writer e.g. phonetic spelling
  • How much whole-word knowledge does the writer have and how the 'virtuous errors' reveal basic understanding of spelling rules
  • Take into account the type of words which the child is trying to spell: are they high frequency words or more unusual?
  • Spelling stages
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Barclay (1996)

1. Scribbling (Random marks on a page)

2. Mock handwriting (Often appears with drawings, resembles cursive handwriting which can be revisited at a later time)

3. Mock letters (Letter-like shapes that resemble conventional alphabet letters)

4. Conventional letters (First word is usually child's name)

5. Invented spelling (Move on from conventional letters to make words)

6. Approximated or phonetic spelling stage (Children begin to associate sounds with the letters)

7. Conventional spelling stage (Approximated spellings become more and more conventional)

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Kroll (1981)


Basic motor skills are acquired alongside some principals of spelling


Writing is similar to spoken language, including a more casual, colloquial register, unfinished sentences and string of clauses joined by the conjunction 'and'.


Awareness of writing as seperate from speech. A stronger understanding of writing for different purposes.


'Personal voice' develops, and writing is characterised by evidence of controlled writing.


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Spelling - Stages

Stage 1: Exploration

Stage 2: Semiphonetic

Stage 3: Phonetic

Stage 4: Transitional

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Spelling - Errors

  • Insertion
  • Omission
  • Substitution
  • Transposition
  • Phonetic spelling
  • Over/undergeneralisation
  • Salient (key) sounds
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  • Observation/comment
  • Recount
  • Report
  • Narrative


  • Expressive
  • Poetic
  • Transactional


  • Chronological
  • Non-chronological
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Genre - continued


  • Abstract
  • Orientation
  • Complicating action
  • Resolution
  • Evaluation
  • Coda
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Key Terminology

Emergent writing - Scribble writing, the very earliest stage in a child's early development

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 It wasn't what I was looking for, but it recommended for students who want to know how to structure their poetry comparison effectively.   


Sorry, I just noticed my grammatical mistakes. What I meant to say is that, its recommended for whoever wants to know how to structure a poetry comparison essay correctly.


Very clear and thorough essay plan. Thank you! :)


Awesome! Thank you! :)

Paul Dutton

An excellent essay plan which takes the student through step by step.  Thoughtfully planned.

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