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:
  • notes to teachers or family,
  • letters requesting information or assistance, or
  • a complaint.
  • 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.

    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.

    1. Writing is dynamic and creative. The flow of ideas, even when it is slow, requires energy to keep going.
    2. Making corrections is a static process; it looks for fault and error. It will completely stop the flow of ideas.
    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:
    • find the exact words
    • fix spelling and grammar mistakes
    • modify sentence structure or sentence order

    23 comments:

    Queen Of My Castle said...

    I like that their first attempt is not expected to be the final outcome!

    tutorgirl said...
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    tutorgirl said...

    This is how my daughter was encouraged to write in elementary school. These are absolutely hilarious to read now. The creativity really flowed and she wrote about what was important to her.

    tutorgirl said...
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    lillian said...

    I totally agree that the first draft needs to be spontaneous and that editing needs to take place later.

    Pat said...

    knowing that the first thing you write will not be the final product allows you to be more comfortable it putting your thoughts down quickly

    Gerri said...

    This makes good sense to do the pre writing completely before attempting any editing.

    Ms. Ovette said...

    It is very important that the writer understand that the creative process is separate from the editing process.

    David H. said...

    I write fiction stories and this is so true! Nothing destroys creativity faster than "the critic". The most important thing is to just "get it down". There is always time to correct and revise later.

    Marian said...

    I surely will discourage any worrying about hand writing. It's a chore read my own creativity! Really, I hope in helping my learner, I learn some tips to improve my own handwriting.

    Lynn said...

    I have a good friend who is a wonderful writer and who teaches writing. Years ago she taught me to just write all my thoughts without censoring myself and then go back and correct.

    neg said...

    I agree with everyone just knowing the first (or second...)time isn't the last time frees you.

    SNelson said...

    I like the idea of free flowing, so many times If I am distracted I forget my train of thoughts and find it difficult to get back to that thought.

    Megan N said...

    I like the "encourage your learner to create their own word for the word they are looking for" I use that sometimes still when I'm looking for a word. Everyone has a brain block sometimes!

    Kenneth Zen Bodhi said...

    It is important that students and tutors support the idea of a first draft.

    LG said...

    I wrestle with how to provide the encouragement to the learner for their flow of ideas/content and have those words of encouragement be heard when, during the revision phase, there are a host of grammatical corrections to be made.

    vicki walbroehl said...

    Writing is a wonderful process and should be encouraged. Free flow is the way to go!

    Julia Tokareva said...

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    Wallace West said...
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    Wallace West said...

    The first draft is just getting it all out, don't critique the information. Let your thoughts flow through the pencil or pen/keyboard.

    Regina Cook said...

    I agree with this process.

    Pamela Lee said...

    My first attempts with business letters are not the final outcome. For anything professional and sometimes non-professional, most would agree with this process.

    MSTATEN said...

    Makes sense.