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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:08 am 
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DD is now reading on a daily basis, since the beginning of year 5. This started off because of teachers at school really reiterating that reading helps creative writing (and comprehenision of course) and fortunately DD seems to be enjoying reading more now.

However, I was wondering if this is actually the case. Does reading more, always filter into one's writing? DD seems to have her favourite authors and will sometimes finish a book in a weekend. However I can't say that I have noticed any impact on sentence structure or indeed vocabulary as a result of this increase in reading.

In order to improve sentence structure and flow of writing do we need targeted practice at using different sentences: verb started, adverb stared, connective , etc. as well? My own personal experience suggests that this might well be the case, wondering what other views out there are too.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:21 am 
I agree with you - if a variety of sentences are to be used in writing, they have to be explicitly taught and practised. You can do this by giving a list of examples, numbering them, and they then throw a dice and have to write a sentence type corresponding to that number on a chosen topic. For example: Next to the number 5 is an adverb starter : Angrily, he stomped across the room and slammed the door behind him. Award points for correct sentence. Play often :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:13 am 
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My son is a big reader and English is his big strength, but it took work to get the two to happen at the same time. While my son was always eager to read, I made sure that he read a variety of styles and genres to expose him as much as possible to the variety in the English language. Then, when he does his creative writing, I encourage him to write in the style of the author or genre he just read. Try asking him or her to extend the story that was just read as if it was part of the same book - this is what will happen in the exam anyhow. My son's vocabulary was helped also by having a Kindle - the ability to look up words right then and there with the built in dictionary really helped.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:05 am 
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Location: Birmingham
Yes.

Unless it is Horrid Henry or Rainbow Magic,in which case it probably makes it worse.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:51 am 
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No.

Unless, I suppose, if DS wasn't a voracious reader his Creative Writing would be even worse!! :shock:

DS has read widely every day, aloud and to himself, since he was 3 years old (he is now 9). His reading level is 5c and his writing level has been 3a for the last 5 and half terms! His reading and spelling ages are both off the scale. He just doesn't like writing and doesn't do it well.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:25 am 
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push-pull-mum wrote:
No.
DS has read widely every day, aloud and to himself, since he was 3 years old (he is now 9). His reading level is 5c and his writing level has been 3a for the last 5 and half terms! His reading and spelling ages are both off the scale. He just doesn't like writing and doesn't do it well.


I find this very interesting. Why the difference in opinions? Makes me think that it definitely needs to be a two pronged approach including both reading and parental intervention: discussing the text, identifying inferences in passages that we read together,writing sentences with different techniques as a regular practice. Sounds right?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:57 am 
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I think reading can definitely improve the structure of a child's writing, but it does not necessarily follow that the creativity will improve. That is like suggesting you can stare at a painting by one of the great masters then go hone and produce a masterpiece on canvas.
Certainly you may be able to replicate a similar idea, so the more widely read, the higher the chance that the plagiarist will be able to blend paragraphs from their memory bank.

Maybe this is the problem, the non creative children simply need to be told it is ok to copy other people's ideas if they cannot think of their own, as long as they write it up beautifully.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:40 am 
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Southbucks3, That is such a good description of why reading widely does not make you a great writer in itself. I shall be using your idea this afternoon. It is exactly right. Seeing it in front of you does not mean you understand it or are able to do it yourself.

Just like watching lots of tennis played by professionals does not make you an ace tennis player neither does watching Bolt run make you a top sprinter.

Doing it is the only way to get better. I just had a student write a story every day and it was amazing how much better he was in just one week. I was astonished.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:26 pm 
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Although watching lots of tv does make you very couch potato like....!!

When we were trying to help ds1 improve his writing, the trick was in constant editing...write the story and then go back to it the next day and make each paragraph better. Then go back the next day and improve each sentence. Then go back the next day and look at individual words - could they be improved?

Far too many people equate being a good reader with being a good writer. Lots of children can read well - often quite expressively but when you ask them about the text they have read, inference or reading between the lines, the understanding is just not there.

Daogroupie...are you absolutely SURE about the watching Bolt thing?!! :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:32 pm 
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kenyancowgirl wrote:
When we were trying to help ds1 improve his writing, the trick was in constant editing...write the story and then go back to it the next day and make each paragraph better. Then go back the next day and improve each sentence. Then go back the next day and look at individual words - could they be improved?


Yes, completely agree - unfortunately school doesn't seem to correct anything other than spelling? (that is when they write a story - which is literally a rare event in any case)

No comments about improving structure, vocab, paragraphing.. zero..! Just a few wiggly lines where the spelling is a bit dubious.


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