Letter Writing: Writing for Real Reasons

Writing is a very complex task in literacy.  It has many components. Whenever we write, we need to think of an idea, then think of the language to describe the idea, then we need to think of the words and how we spell them – and finally we have to think about how we are going to select the letters for each word.  As we become more skilled and practiced writers, these skills become more automatic.  But in the beginning, each of these skills takes a lot of effort and planning.

Writing also needs to have purpose.  We need to do writing for real reasons – to communicate, to publish and/or to give ourselves and others enjoyment.  Each time we write with purpose we learn a lot more about writing and how we do it.  For example we ask students to practice writing their name through a range of activities: by signing in each day; or by writing their name on each piece of work they do; or by writing their name on a list to do an activity; and anywhere else that it is appropriate. We shouldn't get them to trace or copy their name as such tasks are hard to assign a literacy function or meaning – and we certainly never get them to write their name without meaning or purpose as this becomes a motor task rather than writing.

At Malkara School, each classroom does daily literacy activities. Students participate in a group reading with a purpose. They also select a book they would like to read or have read to them. They learn about the alphabet and words.  And, very importantly, they get opportunities to write for real reasons.

One of the most popular writing activities is the weekly letter writing. Every Tuesday, the whole school participates in letter writing. Classes write to each other and then post their letters in the school Post Box in the front office.  Students across Malkara enjoy writing the letters – and they REALLY enjoy receiving them. Letter writing is such a great writing activity because everyone gets to publish and everyone gets to get something back 🙂

Classroom teachers model how to do letter writing using different “pencils” in use in each classroom and focusing on different aspects of letter writing.  Many students across the school use alphabet Flip Charts in the writing block but others use keyboards or pencils.  Below is a video of Katrina modelling to her class how to use the Flip Chart for writing.  This model focuses on initial letter selection in words.

Click here to display content from www.youtube.com

And below are some of the different letters written by students at Malkara this week:

To Sam from Bethany

To Griffin from Sam

To Ben from Joshua

To Slade from Jessica

To Sophie from Matthew

To Ollie from Cooper

 And big thanks to the students and staff at Malkara School for their wonderful writing.

Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *