Blogging is an excellent tool for developing literacy skills in children.
From providing a purpose and audience, through an effective way of receiving feedback to supporting drafting and redrafting, blogging can be an extremely useful device when used well.
In order to undertake any task, children like adults, like to understand why they are doing it. Whilst an activity may bring its own rewards and satisfaction or pleasing the teacher may be an aim for some pupils, others like to have a genuine purpose to what they are doing. This is a significant motivating factor for writers. They could be writing an article for the class or school news, they could be writing a letter for consideration by school council (or others) or they could be writing to entertain a younger class or individual. So often, however, the purpose of writing in school is reduced to an abstract concept such as writing to meet the particular literary features of a given genre. Blogging by its very nature, and its accessibility to a wider audience may provide the purpose required to engage reluctant writers and the enthusiastic alike. Through a blog they may be writing for a wide variety of audiences and for different purposes. Part of the teacher’s role in these circumstances is to develop the concept of purpose for the given audience.
Audience is another key factor in motivating and enthusing children to write. If they only write for their teacher—they tend to write for that person’s benefit alone. Through a blog the audience can be immediately expanded depending on the visibility that the teacher has enabled. This can extend to parents, peers, the whole school, specific individuals or even the wider world depending on what permissions have been set. Children knowing that their work is accessible to such a wide audience can inspire young writers. This is further extended when they receive positive feedback from others.
Feedback is key to developing success; especially positive feedback. Many schools employ systems such as three stars and a wish as a method of ensuring such feedback is received. But often the writing is read only by the teacher and may be a single response partner, whereas making the writing accessible online gives a greater opportunity for such feedback to be given far more widely. It’s extremely rewarding for the individual when they receive feedback from multiple sources. In many blogs the teacher can control who is allowed to give feedback and may vary this according to the task in hand.
Such feedback can support the writer in rereading and redrafting their writing. Through the use of IT such redrafting is made much easier. This is critical in developing good writers. Rereading and redrafting are fundamental to writing, but are difficult to instil in young children if their drafts require complete reworking of what they’ve previously done. Modifications may be made without the need to rewrite the whole piece as is required through traditional methods. Whilst in the early days of the use of IT to support writing, children’s keyboard skills were a limiting factor in their ability to draft their writing, but with developments in technology and in particular the autocomplete facility on tablets that not only auto corrects spellings but makes word suggestions based on context can really improve both speed and outcome.
Our Learning Platform – DB Primary is the ideal forum for engaging the next generation of learners. By teaching them key online and social media skills in a safe and secure environment. For more information, please contact us.