LEARNING TO WRITE – Is it the same in ESL?

learning to write


(Photo credit http://bit.ly/Z4pdwK)

If you read my other post a while ago about LEARNING TO READ is it the same in ESL?, then you will have a head start.

So I’m going to quickly go over the main points of the other post first. We learn to read using these four areas:

  1. Joining the sound to the shape
  2. Creating fluency with the connection between the sound and the shape
  3. Creating meaning from the sound and the shape
  4. Connecting that meaning to a previous meaningful experience

Okay, so that is reading, is writing any different? I’ll give you a minute to think.


…….Hum – de-dum-de-dum….okay finished? So what did you come up with?


Is it anything like this:

Learning to write in ESL requires all four of the points above + the addition of

  1. Formation: being able to physically hold a pencil and form the required letter
  2. Association: being able to associate the letter/word with the meaning in order to write it (not just understand it)
  3. Communication: being able to connect an experience to an English meaning in order to communicate it
  4. Review: being able to review what you have written to see if it says what you want it to say

So clearly it appears that writing is twice as difficult as reading right? Well some may agree, but anyone who has ever sat IELTS Reading and Writing will probably disagree.  However there is a substantial difference:

READING: requires a person to ‘expand’ their mind to the possibilities on the page and take whatever comes their way and try to decipher them in order to make it make sense…..sounds very stressful.

WRITING: requires a person to ‘narrow’ their mind to all the possibilities on the page and bring forth what needs to be put down. … sounds a lot more constrained.

So though writing requires a lot more development of skills in the first place, you are really only trying to say what you think. However reading states that, it doesn’t really matter what you think, this page is going to tell you something and you have to find a way of making it make sense to you. A much bigger task.

I know this is a simplified version. But what do you think?


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