Children’s Writing

Children's Writing

Title:​ ​Drawing, Talking And Writing:Rethinking Writing Development.

Author:  Anne Haas Dyson

Source: Dyson, A. H. (1988). Drawing, Talking, and Writing: Rethinking Writing Development. Occasional Paper No. 3.

Year: February, 1988

Suitable Audience: Literacy Educators, Language Teachers

Difficulty Level: Moderate


What are the conditions within which the development of Children’s writing takes place? Is the creation of a world of words a disengaged and disembedded process? Or is it rather rooted in children’s social worlds, their rich experiences and vivid imaginations? What is the role of different media of expression such as drawing and talking in the development of the expression of writing? What are the different stages of this development?

These are some of the questions which Anne Haas Dyson takes you through in this paper. The paper looks closely at the ‘learning to write’ trajectory of two students through their kindergarten to second grade. Rich with anecdotes of both the children’s talk, samples of their drawing and writing, the paper takes the reader through the children’s writing journeys answering lucidly many of the questions raised above.

Title: Discerning Writing Assessment: Insights into an Analytical Rubric

Author: Lucy K. Spence

Source: Language Arts, Vol. 87, No. 5, Locating Standards in Language Arts Education (May 2010), pp. 337-352

Published by: National Council of Teachers of English

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Academics, Students of Education

Difficulty level: Moderate


The paper analyses the method of assessment carried out by two teachers who follow the Six Traits Rubric of Assessment. The Six Traits Assessments considers Ideas, organization, Voice, Words, Sentence Fluency and Conventions such as Grammar, Punctuation etc. to assess children’s writing. The author emphasises that the method of assessment followed by the teachers doesn’t take into account the child’s context sufficiently. An argument is presented for creating contextually sensitive methods of assessment for children who learn English as a second language instead of comparatively assessing them through the same standards which are created for Native English Speakers. The paper thus makes a case for incorporating children’s socio-cultural and linguistic diversity and different narrative styles during assessment.

An appendix attached in the end provides a detailed rubric of the Six traits Assessment for the readers’ understanding.

Title: Emerging Readers & Writers: Young Children's Early Writing Development

Author(s): Dorothy S. Strickland and Lesley M. Morrow

Source: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 42, No. 6 (Feb., 1989), pp. 426-427

Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Literacy Association

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Students of Education

Difficulty Level: Easy


This short reading guides our attention towards the idea of emergent writing. Young children at pre-kindergarten and kindergarten level begin experimenting with the expression of writing, if surrounded in an encouraging environment. Drawing, scribbling, inventing of spellings are some of the strategies applied during this stage. The paper through the example of a writing sample, points towards the child’s existing print knowledge, along with providing some tips in which we can create an environment which is conducive for a child’s emergent writing.

Title: Three Teachers' Quest: Providing Daily Writing Activities for Kindergartners

Author(s): Carol L. Moutray and Carrie Ann Snell

Source: YC Young Children, Vol. 58, No. 2 (March 2003), pp. 24-28

Published by: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Students of Literacy pedagogy

Difficulty level: Easy


After having observed a kindergarteners’ writing workshop for three days, a school principal encourages teachers in his own school to create an encouraging environment for children’s writing. This led to the initiation of a 30 minutes writing time each day for the kindergarten classes. The paper describes the classroom environment and pedagogical strategies employed by three teachers through the course of this program in their respective classrooms. An important point being made through-out the paper is the development of different literacy skills such as letters,letter-orders, letter-sound relationship etc, that takes place as children are engaged in a meaningful writing process.

Title: Symbol Makers, Symbol Weavers: How Children Link Play, Pictures and Print.

Author : Anne Haas Dyson.

Source: Dyson, A. H. (1990). Symbol Makers, Symbol Weavers: How Children Link Play, Pictures, and Print. Young Children, 45(2), 50-57. doi:

Year: 1990

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Teacher Educators, Students.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Children from an early stage become fluent and inventive users of symbols, including gestures, pictures, pictures, spoken words and written ones. They invest certain forms - movement, lines, sounds - with meaning, and thus they begin to use the movement of play, the lines of drawing, and the sounds of language to represent or symbolise the people, objects and events that comprise their world. The author discusses the complex developmental processes that allow children to use symbols not only to represent their experienced world, but to construct imagined ones. Emphasis is laid on the role of art and play in children’s growth as symbol makers, particularly as makers of written symbols. She illustrates the developmental links children make between play, pictures and print.

Title: Writing and reading - chapter from Gunning.

Author: Thomas G. Gunning.

Source: Gunning, T. G. (1996). Creating reading instruction for all children. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Year: 1996

Suitable Audience: Students, Teacher Educators, Teachers.

Difficulty level: Moderate to Difficult.

This chapter is an elaborate discussion of what writing entails. It seeks to answer questions such as - What is your writing process? What steps do you take before you begin writing? What elements do you consider when you choose a topic? How do you plan your writing? How do you go about editing your writing? How are your reading and writing related? What impact does your reading have on your writing? What impact does writing have on your reading? And so on. It’s a painstakingly written chapter that helps teachers understand the process of writing, with ideas aplenty for practice. Read on to find out more.

Title: How to write…? Scaffolding Preschooler’s Early Writing Skills.

Author: Sonia Q. Cabell, Laura S. Tortorelli and Hope K. Gerde

Source:  Cabell, S. Q., Tortorelli, L. S., & Gerde, H. K. (2013). How to Write...? Scaffolding Preschoolers' Early Writing Skills. The Reading Teacher, 66(8), 650-659.  


Year: 2013

Audience: Teachers, Teacher Educators, Academics.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

How does the practice of providing children with rich writing experiences help lay a foundation for literacy learning? This article seeks to help one understand just that and presents a framework for individualising early writing instruction in the preschool classroom. The article offers a straightforward framework that teachers can use to easily evaluate children’s writing and help them take the next step in their writing development. The article, through examples of four different students who might appear in a typical preschool classroom,  discusses why it is important to foster early writing skills, how writing typically develops in young children, and how teachers can actively support this development.

A very handy guide to understanding children’s writing and the various stages they may grow through in their journey towards becoming writers.

Title: The Reading-Writing Relationship: Seven Instructional Principles.

Author:Timothy Shanahan

Source: Shanahan, T. (1988). The Reading-Writing Relationship: Seven Instructional Principles. The Reading Teacher, 41(7), 636-647. doi:

Year: 1988

Audience: Teachers, Teacher Educators, Students, Academics.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

The question of what comes first - Reading or Writing - has always been something that most teachers struggle with. The point is, is it even sequential? How could we think of it as a practice that involves integrating the two - reading and writing? The article proposes 7 instructional principles based upon research on reading-writing relationships. These principles explain how to combine reading and writing in the classroom to best enhance children’s literacy learning. Several specific instructional techniques have been recommended on the basis if each of the principles.

Read on to find out more.

Title: What’s in a Name? Children’s Name Writing and Literacy Acquisition.

Author: Janet W. Bloodgood.

Reference: Bloodgood, J. W. (jul - aug - sep, 1999 ). What's in a Name? Children's Name Writing and Literacy Acquisition . Reading Research Quarterly, 34(3), 342-367. Retrieved December 29, 2017, from

Year: 1999.

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Teacher Educators, Academics.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

This paper presents a research study that was conducted to understand the significance of a student’s name in literacy acquisition. According to Bloodgood, “names allow us to access to and flexibility with language, as we identify items, find alternative terms for them into syntactic plans of speech and writing. As youngsters begin to explore written language, their name becomes a natural focus. Since the word young children encounter most meaningfully in print is their nam, this is often the word they first attempt to write.” This paper elaborates on this premise and extends the same to further understand how writing development takes place. They conclude that children’s knowledge of their names plays a significant role in their early writing development prior to their awareness of the letter-sound connections. When given an opportunity to engage meaningfully with their name as the focus, we help them make associations between letter and sounds as they make progress where they would expand their alphabet knowledge and apply it to a wider range of literacy skills. Read on to know more about how the study was conducted, the methodology, the tools used, the findings etc.

Title: The Art Of Teaching Writing.

Author: Lucy Calkins

Reference: Calkins, L. (2008). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, N.H: Heinemann.

Year: 2008

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Teacher Educators, NGO Professionals, Academics.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Do youngsters need to be coaxed, coerced to write? Do we as teachers constantly find ways of motivating our young students to write? Or is writing simply a means a certain instrumental end - being able to write so someone can read and appreciate what you’ve written, being able to write answers to a set of question, being able to reproduce what one has just read and so on? According to Lucy Calkins, there is a difference between motivating writing and helping people become deeply and personally involved in their own writing. We need to have real human reasons to write and unless we see this, we can’t teach writing!

In this painstakingly written book, Calkins takes the reader through what is called a writing workshop. When she started off, this was an idea that was yet to take wings, but today, one can vouch for the strategies that she recommends that will help our young students become confident writers who write for their own selves, for they begin to see value in such an exercise. She presents numerous examples of children’s writing and the processes involved. She presents voices of teachers and their success stories and their own learnings.

There are chapters on assessment, thematic studies, writing throughout the day, reading/writing relationships, publication, curriculum development, nonfiction writing and home/school connections. This is one book that is highly resourceful for anyone interested in developing strong writers in their classroom. The writing style is conversational and has a certain easy flow to it. A gem, par excellence! 

Title:​ The changing role of written language

Author:  Anne Haas Dyson

Source: Dyson, A. H. (1992). The changing role of written language. Occasional Paper No. 32.

Year: 1992

Suitable Audience: Literacy Educators, Language Teachers, Teacher educators

Difficulty Level: Moderate

 This a theoretical paper, well suited for practitioners like teachers, teacher educators and anyone interested in understanding developmental progression in children’s writing. The author illustrates that development of written language is not a linear progression, but, intertwined with children’s experiences of engaging with different symbolic media.  She vehemently argues for giving opportunities to children to explore the repertoire of symbolic means – drawing, play, dance available to children to express themselves accompanied with talk that forms the foundation for reading and writing. This paper also gives interesting insights about role of drawing in children’s writing. In the end, the author discusses implications of the theory in developing curriculum for early childhood education.

Title:​ Cognitive process theory of writing

Author: Linda Flower and John R Hayes

Source: College Composition and Communication, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Dec., 1981), pp. 365-387

Year: 1981

Suitable Audience: Academicians. Literacy Educators, Language Teachers, Teacher educators

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Link: .

Flower and Hayes conducted research to understand “What guides the decisions writers make as they write?”  They argue that earlier theories emphasized on linear progression of the writing product. However, this theory is limited to final product and does not consider the inner processes of writing.The research conducted by Flower and Hayes explores these inner processes of writing. This research laid groundwork for the theory of cognitive process of writing which are based on the distinctive thinking process that the writer uses during the act of composing.

The paper is suitable for practitioners like language teachers, teacher trainers and academicians.

Title:​ Writing Development in Early Childhood

Author: Elizabeth Sulzby and William H Teale

Source: Educational Horizons, Vol. 64, No. 1, The Writing Revolution (Fall 1985), pp. 8-12

Year: 1985

Suitable Audience: Academicians. Literacy Educators, Language Teachers, Teacher educators

Difficulty Level: Easy


The paper probes when do children begin to write? Is writing and reading interlinked or one precedes the other? Sulzby and Teale have argued against the traditional beliefs about writing. The paper threads in different researches to show how belief about children’s writing has changed with time. The theoretical ideas are well illustrated with evidences which makes it easier for practitioners to relate to and make connections to their classroom settings. Also, the paper very clearly presents what is meant by early patterns in writing development as well as how are reading, writing and speaking connected. The authors conclude paper with implications of the theory on policy for early childhood education and development.

Title:​ Whole language, story reading and children’s writing

Author: Gita Jangid and R. Amritavalli

Source: The EFL Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2

Year: 2011

Suitable Audience: Literacy Educators, Language Teachers, Teacher educators

Difficulty Level: Easy

This article presents findings from a teacher research story project inspired by whole language approach implemented for an academic year in Class I of a private co-educational English medium school in Hyderabad, India. The research explores reading writing connections in classroom setting when provided with story input. The article is divided into five sections. The first section explains whole language approach and its influences on learning language. Second section, explains the implementation of the project. Children’s writing as understood by the project is discussed in the third section. Fourth section deals with comparison of data collected from intervention site and senior class from the same school and school where intervention was not administered. Fifth section concludes the findings from the study and raises some critical points about curriculum, teacher’s role and teaching of English as second language. Teachers and practitioners to understand the importance rich inputs for improving children’s writing and explore such aspects in their settings can use the article.

Title:​ When the Principal asks “Why are your kids writing during reading time?”

Author: Bill Harp

Source: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Oct., 1987), pp. 88-90

Year: 1987

Suitable Audience: Literacy Educators, Language Teachers, Teacher educators

Difficulty Level: Easy


A principal asks the teacher in the class, “Why are your kids writing during reading time?” A question many of the early language development teachers, practitioners, academicians ask. The paper lists down the importance of creating link between reading and writing in a very simple, sharp point that is easy to understand. It presents a strong case for why reading and writing should be interlinked.

Title : Using Transformations of Traditional Stories: Making the Reading-Writing Connection

Author(s): Lawrence R. Sipe

Source: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Sep., 1993), pp. 18-26

Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Literacy Association


Difficulty level: Moderate

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Practitioners. 

In this paper, teachers in a classroom use transformations of popular children's stories to explore the reading-writing connection made by children. Transformations here refers to ways in which an original story can be challenged, extended, deconstructed, differently illustrated etc. in order to explore deeply the dominant thoughts, beliefs and ideas that emerge from an original text . For example popular transformations of The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, The Emperor's New Clothes etc. challenge or complement the original narrative in different ways. The teachers in the classroom use these transformations for Reading and classroom talk, before engaging children in the process of writing their own transformations. The paper looks at the different processes of reading, enquiry, comparison, writing, feedback and editing which are involved in the process of writing transformations. Examples of children's transformations are provided in the text. 

Title: LET ME TELL YOU A SECRET: Kindergartners Can Write!

Author(s): Amanda R. VanNess, Timothy J. Murnen and Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Source: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 66, No. 7 (April 2013), pp. 574-585

Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Literacy Association

Stable URL:

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Suitable Audience: Teachers, Practitioners, Students of Literacy Pedagogy

Confident about her belief that Kindergartners can write, a teacher develops a writing program which is rooted in well researched Literacy Instructional strategies. The program consists of three main stages-planning, whole group lesson and an individual writing lesson. After a brief overview of the three stages, the paper details the classroom process as the teacher takes different groups through the writing program. 

Some Useful Articles for Practitioner Friendly Resources on Children's Writing.

 LiRIL Teacher's Guide - Children's Writing