5. Writing: The Second Phase
After completing the pre-writing activities, encourage your student to put thoughts to paper. Even experienced writers will hesitate at this point. Many of the things your learners will want to write about are related to the business of their lives, such as:
Your student's purpose for writing in these instances is well defined. At first you might want to encourage her to make a series of lists. As she becomes more capable, the writing process will also involve putting thoughts on paper.
notes to teachers or family, letters requesting information or assistance, or a complaint.
About the first draft
Just remember that at the very beginning, all learners are worried about the mechanics of writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation). This is because their spelling and word awareness skills require considerable building, as do their handwriting skills. Most of the learners you will encounter need to develop spelling and sound recognition skills as well as their narrative ones. In fact, it is their lack of these tools of writing that inhibits them.
When writing a first draft, encourage your student to write until she is finished.
- Allow her words to flow without any editing or interruption.
- Promise you will help to fix the mechanics later.
Tip: If your student cannot think of the exact word, have her draw a line or a symbol, or encourage her to invent spellings for words. (McShane, Activity 66, pp 117-8)It is important to teach your student that revision and editing are part of the post writing process. There are two reasons for separating revision from the writing phase.
Therefore, do not make corrections until all of your student's ideas are on paper. Once that happens, you can correct the mistakes by helping her to:
- Writing is dynamic and creative. The flow of ideas, even when it is slow, requires energy to keep going.
- Making corrections is a static process; it looks for fault and error. It will completely stop the flow of ideas.
- find the exact words
- fix spelling and grammar mistakes
- modify sentence structure or sentence order