Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Emergent Writing: What I didn't understand about writing development in the early years

Aside from the people I hold dear, my one passion in life is writing! I don't know if my love of writing was born from my love of reading, but books and poems have always moved me in a way that I hope to move others. Finding the perfect marriage of words, enough to convey meaning but not too many that they dilute emotion, has been a constant companion in my life, from childhood, to graduate school, to my career. 

So, when I became a teacher, I naturally wanted to share this love of writing with my students. My preferred grade levels have always been 5th and 6th grades because at this age they are able to engage in meaningful writing: stories, poetry, essays. When I took an extended break from teaching to be home with my young son, I thought I had given up my ability to work through the writing process with someone. I resigned myself to no longer being a writing teacher. 

Having very little experience with younger students, I didn't really understand or appreciate the writing processes in which they engage. I hadn't thought of letter recognition and formation as true writing. 




Now that I am raising my own child, I see firsthand how he engages in and manipulates the writing process! It has been such an eye-opening, humbling experience that I wanted to learn more about Early Childhood writing. Thus began my quest for research in ECE writing, or Emergent Writing. 

What I have gleaned so far is that emergent writing comes in many forms. Young writers engage in early writing exercises through scribbles and pictures. Through this exploration of the written word, young children begin to understand that "writing conveys meaning" (Mayer, 2007, p. 34). When I stop to think about it, hieroglyphs were some of the earliest forms of writing, so why wouldn't young children's scribbles and pictures be the same?

I have always known writing begins well before we put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. Intuitively, I have always understood that emergent writing comes in the form of, what the layman deems, incomprehensible marks and scribbles. What I didn't realize, though, was how meaningful writing development is in these early years! I am now beginning to understand the importance of providing consistent, authentic opportunities for my son to develop his love of writing!

I am eager to continue learning about the emergent writing process right alongside my son!

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6 comments:

  1. Studying the progression of the writing process was one of my favorite classes when I was becoming a teacher. Collecting writing samples which showed these steps was so much fun, because you had the evidence. What fun it will be for you to watch this through your son...which by the way is adorable! I love those chalk holders! We never stop learning do we?

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Leigh Anne, and for your kind compliment about my son :-) I am excited to watch my son's progression, and, in the process, learn about emergent writing! It's a whole new perspective for me :-)

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  2. Such a wise post - you are providing your son with just what needs to learn to love the writing habit. (PS. He is adorable!)

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    1. Thanks Tara, for your kind comments about my post and my son :-) Who says all habits are bad?!? Ha Ha!

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  3. Emergent writers have lots to say and they find their own way to do it. I love watching the process take hold. He's a lucky little boy!

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    1. Hi Elsie, thank you for your encouragement! I am discovering that, just as their babbling held meaning, so, too, does their scribbling :-)

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