Response to Chapt. 13 of Gunning’s, Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties

The part I am would like to talk about from chapter 13 is the writing process. This is one of the first sections of the chapter and that is because it is a foundation to start with. At one point Gunning states that writing is more complex and abstract then speaking the language. Children grow up having conversations and using verbal clues to master language. However, children do not spend much time writing, which is evident by the evidence by the statistics Gunning gives on page 456. At grades 4, 8, and 12, between 12 and 18% of the students are below basic level of writing. The writing process consists of five stages: prewriting, composing, revising, editing, and publishing.

• Prewriting is all the base work. It is all the planning and preparing one does before they start to actually write. This planning could include picking what they want to write about; this could be a hypothesis, topic, memory, etc. This is also when brainstorming takes place. Students go more in depth to what they want to write about and come up with a plan. You can rehearse what you want to write about and collaborate with peers to get their opinion. At this stage it is also to think of the audience the writing sample is for.

• Composing is the stage where writing begins. Start putting words and thoughts on paper. Work through and sort out what was brainstormed. The focus at this stage is to organize thoughts and write them down. It is not about creating the finished product. Don’t try to have a final writing sample while composing. In this stage errors are expected because this is your first attempt. This is also a stage were writing conferences can take place about the writing samples.

• The next stage is revising. This is when you start to take a closer look at your writing sample. You start to review you writing; you can look at if it makes sense, grammatical errors, what’s the point, and the content. Students look over their rough drafts and start making comments and correcting errors. Over time this will become automatic for students; does this make sense? Should I change the wording? To help students with this process, demonstrate and model what to do and how to make corrections.

• Editing is the fourth stage in the writing process. This can coincide with the revising stage. Editing is pretty much taking your revisions and putting them into your paper. The corrections to the paper are actually made during this stage. This stage fine tunes the writing sample and allows you more time to catch little errors. A mnemonic strategy can be used during this stage, S.C.O.P.E. This stands for spelling, capitalization, order of words, punctuation, and expressing complete thoughts.

• Finally the last stage is publishing. The writing sample is all done and has been looked over. It is now ready to share with the audience and make public. This stage shows the students purpose for writing the sample and allows the audience to see what the student was trying to say.

These stages quite often coincide and overlap. Especially when we get more comfortable with the writing process, we find ourselves constantly composing, revising, and editing. It is one of those things were the more you practice the better you get at it.

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