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Early Years Writers

This page looks at writing samples of 5 students between grades 1 & 2. Each is assessed using phases of literacy, progression points and writing assessment on page 290 of Hill.

Phases of Literacy:
Students were asked to do a writing sample about a book they had read. Most students complied however some refused and in place for Child B a sample from the classroom has been used instead. Using Hill (2006) the Phases of literacy rubric pg 6 can be used as benchmarks of literacy development (Hill pg.5)……..
Phase of literacy:
Definition:
Child
Emergent
Writes letters and words. Leaves spaces between words. Begins to understand a sentence and punctuation. Understands another person can read their ideas.
Child A
Early
Writes about topics that are meaningful. Can write simple sentences. Is aware of and can use most forms of punctuation. May use repetitive sentences.
Child B
Early
Writes about topics that are meaningful. Can write simple sentences. Is aware of and can use most forms of punctuation. May use repetitive sentences.
Child C
Early
Writes about topics that are meaningful. Can write simple sentences. Is aware of and can use most forms of punctuation. May use repetitive sentences
Child D
Emergent- Early
Writes letters and words. Leaves spaces between words. Begins to understand a sentence. By working on their punctuation this student could cement themselves in the early phase of literacy.
Child E

Progression points:
Progression points were used to place children in accordance to the description given with each point. They outline what a child should be able to achieve independently at a particular progression point. The results are presented in the table below.

Progression Point
Description
Child
1.25
.
  • inclusion of their own experiences when writing for personal purposes and audiences such as in lists, letters, cards, posters
  • inclusion of one or more generally readable sentences
  • some correct use of capital letters and full stops
  • drawings that support the intended meaning of their writing
  • plausible attempts at spelling unfamiliar words, matching sound–letter relationships and using some simple spelling patterns
Child A
1.5
  • experimentation with a range of short text types; for example, recounts, letters, lists, procedures
  • sequencing of a small number of ideas in short texts for different purposes and audiences
  • rereading of their own writing, checking that it makes sense
  • combination of writing with drawings or computer graphics to support meaning
  • correct spelling of some high-frequency words and plausible attempts at spelling unfamiliar words
Child B
1.25
  • inclusion of their own experiences when writing for personal purposes and audiences such as in lists, letters, cards, posters
  • inclusion of one or more generally readable sentences
  • some correct use of capital letters and full stops
  • drawings that support the intended meaning of their writing
  • plausible attempts at spelling unfamiliar words, matching sound–letter relationships and using some simple spelling patterns
Child C
1.25
  • inclusion of their own experiences when writing for personal purposes and audiences such as in lists, letters, cards, posters
  • inclusion of one or more generally readable sentences
  • some correct use of capital letters and full stops
  • drawings that support the intended meaning of their writing
  • plausible attempts at spelling unfamiliar words, matching sound–letter relationships and using some simple spelling patterns
Child D
0.5 working toward 1.0
  • understanding that their writing can communicate ideas, feelings and information
  • use of letters and some words in the writing of brief texts about topics of personal interest
  • emergent writing showing concepts about print, including left to right, top to bottom
  • reading back from their own writing at the time of writing
  • approximate use of letters for some letter–sound relationships and common words
  • use of a variety of writing tools, including crayons, pencils and computer software
Child E
While the results of the progression points are based on the writing sample given there is evidence for Child A that in another situation he may be placed at a 1.5 based on his school work. On the day the sample was given he was restless and uninterested.


Writing assessment sheet (Hill) pg. 290.
Using the writing assessment sheet on Hill pg 290 students were graded an appropriate number from the writing they had demonstrated in their writing sample.
Child
Written language
Ideas
Text convention
Child A
4
2
5
Child B
5
4
4
Child C
4
3
3
Child D
4
5
3
Child E
5
3
3



Implications on teaching:
By knowing where the children are at regarding progression points, phases of literacy and using the three criteria above, the teacher can construct lessons and their content around the children’s needs and where they are heading in terms of their writing skills and knowledge. It gives the teacher the opportunity to provide extra support where needed, such as with child E who, due to their Dyspraxia, may need extra attention or support. When it comes to fine motor skills Child E’s are affected by their Dyspraxia and so they may need extra support or possibly spend some time with a specialist to help her improve strategies for writing. These are strategies such as using the special pencil grip mentioned as well as reminders such as ‘use your pinchy fingers’. It is also mentioned that Child E was concerned about making mistakes, showing an awareness of the difficulties they face, therefore confidence boosters such as ‘great trying’ or stickers would be a good way to encourage their efforts.

Regarding activities and planning, Child A and E need more focus for punctuation in order to move to the early phase of literacy, as well as begin to write about meaningful topics such as ‘on the weekend I..’ where they will be asked to explore their own thoughts and draw information from themselves.

Due to Child E’s dyspraxia it will also be important not to make them feel left out when planning activities, so ensuring they can contribute on their own for some part will be a consideration.

As most students are similar in ability having a single focus for everyone during the lesson is a possibility but it would be a good idea to choose a focus each week/ lesson to suit particular students while still enhancing the skills of others. An example of this would be to have a focus on creativity and ideas, you could set a task such as making a story using words and pictures to convey the students message. Student B and D were both depicted as creative students and scored highly on their writing assessment using pg. 290 of Hill, so trying to extend that further would be beneficial to them both. Activities to suit children B and D would be puppets and making books in which they can include their creativity.

Child A scored only a 2 on this assessment and therefore could use some encouragement and perhaps new techniques to enhance their imagination or whatever it may be holding them back. For Child E whose written language is high but lacks the fine motor skills expected of their age, having an opportunity to create pictures with their writing would help them practice these motor skills.

Oral narratives in order to build vocab would be another focus for Child E as students with Dyspraxia often suffer from lack of oral narrative skills. Activities such as Readers Theatre would encourage these skills.