When students know that their writing matters, they are more likely to produce better writing samples. Perhaps the best way to let students know that their writing is important is to have them publish! Publishing can be a class experience that creates excitement and can build confidence in writers. Confident writers will want to write more.
Imagine that you are a student who has spent hours, or even days, working hard to compose a piece of writing. You have invested a lot of time and energy on the process of selecting a topic, brainstorming ideas, writing, editing, and re-writing. The piece may not have perfect spelling or flawless grammar, but you have really put your heart into this effort and you are feeling mighty proud! Now imagine that, after all of this hard work, only one person reads it. The teacher quickly skims through your beloved piece of writing and then it disappears, never to be seen again. Are you feeling motivated to write more?
It is important to remember that students with intellectual disabilities often are at risk for substandard literacy experiences (Gately, 2007). It is essential for teachers to understand that these students require the same learning opportunities as their peers. All students should be given daily opportunities to write about something personally meaningful (Allington & Gabriel, 2012.) When students know that their writing matters, they are more likely to produce better writing samples. Cunningham and Cunningham (2010) suggest that this is because students want their messages and ideas to be clearly communicated. Perhaps the best way to let students know that their writing is important is to have them publish! Publishing can be a class experience that creates excitement and can build confidence in writers. Confident writers will want to write more.
Here are some easy and exciting ways to publish your students’ writing:
• Assemble class anthologies by grouping students’ work in three ring binders.
• Create a class newsletter or blog to share with friends and family.
Following are some ASOLs that directly reference publishing:
5E-WP 2a – The student will use technology to produce and publish writing.
HSE-WP 6a – The student will use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update an individual writing project.
The ASCD Site has some great tips for displaying student work in your classroom.
Scholastic offers some great ideas for turning a computer lab into a publishing center.
Allington, R. L., & Gabriel, R. E. (2012). Every child, every day. Educational Leadership, 69, 10-15.
Cunningham, P. M., & Cunningham, J. W. (2010). What really matters in writing: Research-based practices across the elementary curriculum. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Gately, S. E. (2007). Teaching students with severe disabilities to read: The need for reconciling constructivism. Rivier Academic Journal, 3(1).