Functions and Purposes of Writing
- Functions and purposes of writing:
- to communicate with others for social, interactional and phatic purposes.
- to replace oral communication
- referentially to record information
- to be expressive
How Writing Skills Develop
- Physical skills - holding pencil, directionality, lineation, cursive writing, pen licence etc.
- Letter formation and orthography - through grapheme-phoneme links
- Layout - 'finger spaces', use of images, speech bubbles etc.
- Syntax - sentence formation, grammatical knowledge, punctuation.
- Awareness of an audience
- Awareness of genre conventions - lexical, syntactical, cohesive, structural
- Awareness of pragmatics - e.g. converging to the audience's sociolect
- Idiolectal development - rule breaking and exploration, creating your own writing style/voice
- Being an active learner
Stages of Writing
- Letter-like forms
- Copied letters
- Child's name and strings of letters
Types of Letter
- Ascender - the typographical feature where a portion of the letter goes above the usual height for letters in any font, 'sticky-up letters'
- Descender - where part of a letter goes below the baseline of a font
Kroll's Stages of Development - 1981
- Preparation - up to 6yrs - basic motor skills are acquired, along with some principles of spelling
- Consolidation - 7-8yrs - Writing is similar to spoken language (colloquial register, unfinshed sentences, strings of clauses joined with the conjunction 'and' )
- Differentiation - 9-10 yrs - Awareness of writing as separate from speech, stronger understanding of writing for differeent audiences and purposes is more evident and becomes more automatic.
- Integration - mid-teens - 'personal voice' in writing, evidence of controlled writing, appropriate linguistic choices being consistently made.
- Sound clues, sounding out syllables and stressing different sounds
- Clues from the word's meaning to make links with similar words
- Writing down variations until it 'looks' right
- Using morphological knowledge to predict spelling patterns (such as patterns in affixing to change word class, common inflections/morphemes added to English words)
- Dictionary/ spellchecker
- Not a one-to-one correspondence between grapheme and phoneme in English - 26 letters, but 44 phonemes.
- Could be individual letters, or a digraph to represent a sound.
- Sounds of letters can be affected by their position in a word or the surrounding letters.
- A large number of homophones in English
- Inflections can change the phonology of a word e.g. - house /houses
- Some phonemes are represented by unexpected combinations of graphemes
- Some graphemes represent several phonemes.
- Pre-phonemic - imitate writing, mainly scribbling/pretend writing, some letter shapes are clear.
- Semi-phonetic - link letter shapes and sounds, using these to form words
- Phonetic - understand all phonemes can be represented by graphemes, words become more complete
- Transitional - combine phonic knowledge with visual memory, awareness of combination of letters and letter patterns, including 'magic e' rule
- Conventional - spell most words correctly
Categories of Spelling Errors
- Insertion - adding extra letters
- Omission - leaving out letters
- Substitution - substituting one letter for another
- Transposition - reversing the correct order of letters in a word
- Phonetic spelling - using sound awareness to guess letters and letter combinations
- Over/undergeneralisation of spelling rules - applying rules where it is not appropriate to apply it, or only applying a rule in one specifc context
- Salient (key) sounds - writing only the key sounds of a word
Consider why 'virtuous errors' have been made, remember to include the effect a regional accent could have, and that spelling mistakes can often be explained in more than one way.
- Meeting the conventions of a genre requires:
- a sense of register
- careful choice of lexis and grammar
- an appropriate tone
- an understanding of purpose
- Pragmatic awareness also helps, but develops as writing matures, and can lead to more sophisticated tone, and references to shared experience.
Early writing from schools tended to fall into these categories.
- Observation/comment - the writer makes an observation and follows it with an evaluative comment. The comment can be included with the observation as one sentence.
- Recount - a chronological sequence of events, written subjectively (in first-person POV)
- Report - a factual, objective description of events or things, usually not chronological.
- Narrative - a story genre where the scene is set for events to occur and be resolved by the end. The set pattern is: orientation - complication - resolution - coda. (The coda is optional, it identifies the point of the story.)
Few children will acheive the complete narrative structure early on, since it is complex, but they may be familiar with it from reading stories that follow the structure.
Britton's Modes of Writing
Focused on schoolchildren, and on stylistic choices made not the content of the writing.
- Expressive - resembles speech, first mode to develop. Uses first-person POV and content usually based on personal preferences.
- Poetic - encouraged early on but develops gradually. Phonological features like rhyme, rhythmn and alliteration, plus descriptive devices (adjectives, similes etc) are common.
- Transactional - develops last, around secondary school age, once speech has been dissociated from writing. The style of academic essays, it is more impersonal in style and tone. Uses third-person POV for a detatched tone. Formal sentence structures and graphological features are used to signpost sections and ideas. Structures tend to be chronological (but not necessarily)
- Chronological - relies on verbs and linking ideas using connectives.
- Non-chronological - relies on logical connections between ideas, harder to write.