My approach to the teaching of writing has changed significantly since I started my journey into play and I now prefer to look at writing as storytelling.
This is an old blog post...just in case you have not read it.
If you have read my latest book you will know that I did stumble across some research that shows children become better, more engaged writers when they are allowed to engage with the storytelling process and journaling, rather than being pushed early into formal writing where the topic is prescribed by the teacher.
Regardless of research, I can, from my perspective clearly tell you that children become much more capable, engaged writers when they are allowed to see writing as storytelling.
I have taught writing both ways...formally through modelling and experience, and informally through play and storytelling. The marked difference between the two environments is the amount and type of writing and the level of engagement. You know those reluctant boy writers everyone goes on about? Well they don't exist in this environment. They access writing at their own developmental stage, they do what they can and feel successful....even better after the initial teacher directed time (which feels more like a narrative) they are free to finish and move back to play.
We are only three weeks in and already I have noticed progress.
So what is it I mean by storytelling?
Basically I encourage children to see that what we write, is just what they want to say. If you have something to say, then you have something to write. We talk out loud and make up stories. We talk about our play, about imagined stories. We talk about a story having a beginning, middle and end. I draw and tell a story from my picture. They learn that the first stage of writing is a picture, that when we start school the picture is our story.
We watch silent animations and talk about what is happening and what story they are telling us...what would this story look like written down? This is an example, but there are a huge range of these on youtube, a quick search for silent animations for children will bring up a range of choices. There is always the literacy shed too, along with fabulous pictures that can be found online to make up stories from.