Process Writing

"Process writing is learning how to write by writing," notes Stone (1995, p. 232). This current emphasis in writing instruction focuses on the process of creating writing rather than the end product (Tompkins, 1990). The basic premise of process writing is that all children, regardless of age, can write. The initial focus is on creating quality content and learning the genres of writing.

When writing, students work through the stages of the writing process. The creation of writing occurs in basically five stages: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Prewriting is the planning and idea-gathering stage. Drafting refers to time spent composing a rough draft. Revising is the process of improving the draft. Students reread their work and share it with a partner or small group; they then make changes in the writing based on the feedback from their peers. Editing is the process of correcting mechanical errors. Publishing, or sharing, is accomplished in a wide variety of ways when the work is in final form. Student of all ages move back and forth among these stages while writing; the stages are not lockstep or sequential (Gardner & Johnson, 1997; Tompkins, 1990).

The implementation of process writing can take several forms. Some examples of classroom application include writers' workshop, writing across the curriculum, the use of journals or logs, and modeled writing.

For more information, refer to the National Writing Project and Writing Project sites for professional development in process writing.

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