Teaching Writing: What Actually Is Authentic Writing? | literacyforpleasure

It is often stressed that authentic writing experiences can improve children’s pleasure and academic outcomes in writing. Indeed, calls for authenticity can be found throughout literature and research (Dyson, 2003, Leung & Hicks, 2014, Flint & Fisher, 2014, Flint & Laman, 2012, Gadd, 2014, Grainger (Cremin), Goouch & Lambirth, 2003, New London Group, 2000). Perhaps the best example though is Hillocks (2011), concluding in his review of 100 years of writing research that:

we now know from a very wide variety of studies in English and out of it, that students who are…

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Book reviews | Phonics and Books

I have had the great good fortune to be asked to review lots of children’s books over the last few months. I had not written a book review for some considerable time and I realised whilst writing the reviews for the books I had read, how essentially dull writing a review can be.

The exception was when I got tremendously excited about a particular book I had read and then it became much easier to write. Often, however, we expect children to write reviews about many of the books they read and children may find this task dry and unexciting.

How can we make it a more enjoyable learning…

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The Writing Framework: How It Is Possible To Assess Writers And Not Just The Writing. | literacyforpleasure

There has been a lot of talk around assessing children’s writing for a long time now.

Anxiety has been caused as a result of what constitutes independent writing. People are talking about the merits and disadvantages of comparative judgement but I think we are missing the point here. My instinct is that, in all likelihood, we shouldn’t be marking individual writing at all. We should be assessing the development of the writer over time. I trialled this in my class last year.

To ensure children could produce writing topics independently, over the course of the year, I taught the children…

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Building Communities Of Writers: Creating Rich Writing Environments | literacyforpleasure

As part of our ongoing work on building a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, we have been reflecting on the first principle of our Writing For Pleasure manifesto:

The Writing Environment (1)
When writers see their teachers as positive, caring and interested in pupils’ lives, they are more likely to engage in writing at a high level of achievement. The aim is to create a community of writers, in which teachers write alongside children and share their own writing practices, and children are shown how to talk about their own and their peers’ writing in a positive and constructive way.


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You may have noticed – or perhaps not – that it’s a very long time since my last blogpost, but I came… | literacyadviser

You may have noticed – or perhaps not – that it’s a very long time since my last blogpost, but I came across this previously unpublished essay which I wrote several years ago then promptly forgot, so I thought I would share with you. It is really a reflection on the history of storytelling.

New Literacies and the Importance of Narrative
“The shortest distance between two people is a story.”
Ancient proverb


Think of what happens every time you meet a friend in the street, or in a bar, or when you speak on the telephone. You will almost certainly take it in turn to update the story of…

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How to find out what works in ‘What Works?’ | James Murphy

Choosing an effective intervention may not be as difficult as you think.

For school leaders looking for evidence on the effectiveness of literacy interventions, the go-to source is Professor Greg Brooks’ What works for children and young people with literacy difficulties? Published by the SpLD-Dyslexia Trust, this work compiles the available evidence on currently available interventions in reading, spelling and writing. Greg Brooks invites submissions, evaluates the data and collates the information into a form that enables reasonable comparisons to be made. Pre-dating the EEF’s…

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