Monday, September 29, 2008

Topic: Parents of First Graders and Writing

10-second review: Parents of first graders should focus on meaning in their children’s writing and make only one or two corrections per piece of writing.

Title: “Every Mark on the Page: Educating Family and Community Members about Young Children’s Writing.” KF Cusumano. Language Arts (September 2008), 9-17. A publication of the National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “In fact, the homework (in first grade) began to come back looking as if a child, instead of an adult, wrote it. Family and community members began to relax a bit, choosing one or two mistakes for a child to correct per piece of writing. Some of my reluctant writers happily reported to me that their family and community members no longer made them write a rough draft, correct all their mistakes, and then rewrite it in their best handwriting”

Comment: Oh! Oh! Another issue. Should student writing be posted without correction? But it is also hard to imagine first graders writing a complete composition, correcting all their mistakes and writing a final copy in their best handwriting.

Perhaps there’s a middle road. My wife, a first-grade teacher, used to have students write paperback books on four or more folded (eight pages or more) that looked like the children’s books she read to them. First came the text. Their stories were wonderful. In the beginning she corrected their stories with them. Then they drew their pictures. They were posted with the corrections. They did not copy it over in their best handwriting.

The purpose of this blog, English Updates, is to review interesting contemporary (2008-2009) articles from professional English education journals at all levels—elementary, middle school, junior high school, high school and college.

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