When over two-thirds of children can’t write well enough to keep up with the demands in the classroom, you have to wonder what is going on with writing instruction in the Nation’s classrooms.
Handwriting, and the minimal instruction given in schools is only one part of the picture- getting an idea, transforming it into words, and then transcribing those words for others to see- are all involved.
Add issues with grammar and syntax, and you begin to understand writing is to reading as calculus is to math- it requires you to bring all parts of the literacy puzzle into play, all at once, like an orchestra.
If you want to understand why a child may struggle in writing, and how to figure out which part of the puzzle may be causing them problems, this two-part interview is for you.
Dr. Steve Graham is a professor and the Currey Ingram chair in special education at Vanderbilt University. He's done extensive research into the development of writing in children and writing instruction. His interests goes beyond just handwriting and into the cognitive processes that go into transforming ideas into words and then into written text. He is the editor of Exceptional Children, and has cowritten many books, including the Handbook of Writing Research, Handbook of Learning Disabilities, Writing Better, and Making the Writing Process Work. He received a career research award from the Council for exceptional Children and Special Education Research Interest Group in the American Educational Research Association.
His wife, Dr, Karen Harris, is just as impressive, serving as editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology, and President of the Division of Research for the Council for Exceptional Children.
Dr. Graham was recently quoted in an article in Newsweek, discussing the importance of handwriting in the learning process, and he was kind enough to spend an hour with me, discussing all aspects of the writing process, as kids develop during the school years. Anyone who has a child who has struggled with any aspect of writing shouldn’t miss this two-part interview, covering the three major stages of the writing process, how to give appropriate feedback to kids learning how to write, and how handwriting has both reader and writer affects, impacting how a child is perceived and how his work is judged and graded by others.
Click here to listen to Show #75- The Development of Writing with Steve Graham, Part I
Labels: composition, development of writing, handwriting, learning disabilities, newsweek, Steve graham, writing