Literacy promotion is a complex process. There is no question that this process is a valuable part of a student’s learning and helps lay a solid foundation for future growth. There are countless strategies and methods to help children read and write. Therefore, every teacher will approach reading and writing lessons differently. Many people believe that a student must first learn to read and only then learn to write. From this perspective, reading is a stepping stone to writing. This presupposes that literacy develops very linearly.
An alternative understanding of helping children to read and write is based on an understanding of reading and writing as reciprocal. The mutual perspective claims that learning to read and learning to write are processes that complement each other. Marie Clay has championed this concept and produced research that supports the benefits of identifying reading and writing as mutual. Teachers committed to this methodology teach reading and writing at the same time, removing any barriers that separate these skills. This path to literacy requires a fluid school schedule, rather than one that breaks reading and online writing classes into different blocks of school life.
Once you’ve done your research, there are a number of ways you can present the information to your child. You can approach the task as if you were making “reading time” with your child and reading from your sources. Alternatively, you could set up a study room in your house where you can sit and study with your children. Regardless of how you present or share the information with your children, it is important that you give them the opportunity to create something for themselves.
Based on this perspective, young children remember texts they have encountered when they begin to write. They also rate their spelling skills while reading. Here’s an example: Imagine a teacher asks a boy to spell the word “bone.” When exploring, he writes “bon”. At this point, the teacher adds the “e” at the end. The child then exclaims, “Oh yes! That’s how I remember seeing it at the science center!”
In summary, promoting reading and writing for children goes hand in hand. Therefore, it makes sense to treat reading and writing as complementary rather than separate skills. Early literacy teachers see great benefits in using reciprocal instruction. For more on Clay’s work on the interrelationship of reading and writing, see this reference:
Clay, M.M. (1998). The power of writing in early literacy. In MM Clay, On Different Routes to Common Results (pp. 130-161). York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.
For more information on early literacy instruction and academic support, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.
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