Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading-and-Writing or Writing-and-Reading? My A-ha! Moments in ECE Research

As I have shared in previous posts, much of my teaching experience has been with upper elementary students, specifically 5th and 6th graders. While I have had my share of struggling readers and writers, providing intervention and accommodations as necessary, I never really took the time to understand the emergent phases of reading and writing.

Now that I have my son, I am eager to learn more about the early phases of learning to read and write. In my quest, I have come across some epiphanies, "light bulb" or A-ha! moments, that I would like to process by writing down. In all honestly, I am a little ashamed to share some of these insights because I feel that I should have intuitively known them, but for the sake of full disclosure, I am sharing them all:

  • Writing is a precursor to reading. What!?! I always thought reading came first because writing is a much more difficult skill to master. However, my research has shown otherwise! The amount of research supporting the correlation between writing and reading leads me to believe I have been approaching my interventions and accommodations for struggling readers and writers all wrong! Looking at my son's development, though, I can see how this is true. When he was resistant to learning his letters during our read-alouds, and even more resistant to "read" because he didn't know the letters, I began finding fun ways to encourage his letter recognition, such as writing on our Menu Board. He seemed more eager to learn how to write letters than he was to read them. Now that he has engaged in writing activities, he is showing more of an interest in "reading", whether by taking a picture walk, reading from memory, or a using combination of both:   

  • The teaching of reading and writing (in keeping with my research, perhaps I should change the order of my words to "writing and reading") proves most effective when done with authentic, meaningful activities. From some of my less scholarly, but no less relevant, research, I have found ways to tap into my son's natural curiosity and inspire him to want to write and read. Rather than just memorize letters and sounds, we are using real-life experiences. I knew I disliked using the "spelling-a-word-ten-times" strategy with my elementary students for a reason!
  • Children are never too young to start learning how to write. I've always held the belief that a well-written person is usually a well-read person (although, this tends to conflict with my recent findings that writing develops reading....hmmmm), but I didn't realize this applied to infants and toddlers. The simple act of reading out loud to my son from birth (actually, since utero) was planting the seeds for his development as a writer. 
I'm sure many of you already knew most of this information, but I hope you found something of value here. I would love to hear any more insight and wisdom from those of you with experience in emergent writing and reading to help me discover what develops first, reading or writing?


This is just one Slice of Life shared at Two Writing Teachers. Stop over and read some more!

5 comments:

  1. Writing and reading for the most part came hand in hand for my daughter. Drawing came before the reading. But writing letters came at the same time she started to make sense of text on the page, meaning the next time I read this book it doesn't change. You can't skip part of the story because we're tired. It's written there. Interestingly as she learned the violin she also devised her own method for recording her "compositions". It was a rebus system that told her what to play. Her music teacher enjoyed trying to play using the unconventional notation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! That's interesting Lynn :-) How young did you start your daughter on violin? I definitely want my little one to play an instrument!

      Delete
  2. Not something I've spent much time thinking about either (just retired 6th grade teacher). But Betsy's recent posts about drawing and writing have been interesting for me. Are the videos of your son reading? It's delightful to listen in and so fun to see the joy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ramona, yes the videos are my son. He is so enjoying his new found skills :-) I will have to check in to Betsy's blog for inspiration. Thanks for the visit!

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete