1st Edition

Developing Writers Across the Primary and Secondary Years Growing into Writing

Edited By Honglin Chen, Debra Myhill, Helen Lewis Copyright 2020
    284 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Writing development and pedagogy is a high priority area, particularly with standardised testing showing declines in writing across time and through the years of schooling. However, to date there are relatively few texts for teachers and teacher educators which detail how best to enable the children to become confident, autonomous and agentic writers of the future.

    Developing Writers Across the Primary and Secondary Years provides cumulative insights into how writing develops and how it can be taught across years of compulsory schooling. This edited collection is a timely and original contribution, addressing a significant literacy need for teachers of writing across three key stages of writing development, covering early (4-7 years old), primary (7-12 years old) and secondary years (12-16 years old) in Anglophone countries. Each section addresses two broader themes — becoming a writer with a child-oriented focus and writing pedagogy with a teacher-oriented focus.

    Together, the book brings to bear rigorous research and deep professional understanding of the writing classroom. It offers a novel approach conceiving of writing development as a dynamic and multidimensional concept. Such an integrated interdisciplinary understanding enables pedagogical thinking and development to address more holistically the complex act of writing.





    Chapter 1: Developing Writers in Primary and Secondary School Years Debra Myhill and Honglin Chen


    Part I: Writing in the Early Years: Fostering Emergent Writers

    Chapter 2: Children Learning About Writing in the Early Primary Years Classrooms Lisa Kervin, Barbara Comber and Annette Woods

    Chapter 3: Writing Before School: The Role of Families in Supporting Children’s Early Writing Development Cathy Nutbrown

    Chapter 4: Bringing More Than A Century of Practice to Writing Pedagogy in the Early Years Susan Feez

    Chapter 5: Teaching Writing in Digital Times: Stories from the Early Years Clare Dowdall


    Part II: Writing in the Primary Years: Supporting Social, Linguistic and Cognitive Development

    Chapter 6: Developing Textual Competence: Primary Students’ Mastery of Noun Groups in Two Factual Text Types Helen Lewis

    Chapter 7: Apprenticing Authors: Nurturing Children’s Identities as Writers Teresa Cremin

    Chapter 8: Developing Confident Writers: Fostering Audience Awareness in Primary School Writing Classrooms Honglin Chen and Emma Rutherford Vale

    Chapter 9: A Pedagogy of Empowerment: Enabling Primary School Writers to Make Meaningful Linguistic Choices Susan Jones


    Part III: Writing in the Secondary Years: Growing into Complexity

    Chapter 10: Writing their Futures: Students’ Stories of Development and Difference Erika Matruglio And Pauline Jones

    Chapter 11: Wordsmiths and Sentence-Shapers: Linguistic and Metalinguistic Development in Secondary Writers Debra Myhill

    Chapter 12: Growing into the Complexity of Mature Academic Writing Beverly Derewianka

    Chapter 13: Articulating Authorial Intentions: Making Meaningful Connections Between Reading and Writing in the Secondary Classroom Helen Lines



    Honglin Chen is an Associate Professor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Language Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Her research focuses primarily on three interconnected areas in language and literacy education, including writing development, English curriculum and policy, and teacher knowledge and pedagogy.

    Debra Myhill is Professor of Education at the University of Exeter, and Director of the Centre for Research in Writing. Her research interests focus principally on aspects of language and literacy teaching, particularly linguistic and metalinguistic aspects of writing, and the composing processes involved in writing.

    Helen Lewis is a researcher and sessional lecturer at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Her research interest centers around literacy development at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and pedagogic practices that support the development.

    In a multimodal world, the significance of writing is too easily forgotten. This rich collection of Australian and British action research re-focuses our attention on the instrumental role played by writing development in all aspects of teaching/learning ¬– ranging across sectors, across informing social semiotic approaches and across individual and social perspectives as it does so. A timely reminder for ‘woke’ educators in our Web 2.0 communication age.

    Professor J R Martin, Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Australia

    An increasing body of research into children’s writing performance in recent times has demonstrated how considerable are the changes that occur from early childhood to late childhood, and thence to adolescence and adult life. Written language is quite different from speech, and while children normally commence their schooling with a degree of spoken proficiency, it takes some years of development to master the written code. This volume brings together a timely and useful set of chapters that reveal many of the challenges for children in learning to write before school and in the primary and secondary years. As such, the volume offers valuable insights for teachers at all ages.

    Frances Christie, Emeritus Professor of Language & Literacy Education, University of Melbourne, Australia

    In a multimodal and complex world, writing development for children and young people remains an imperative in education. Whether writing is conceived as a technical skill and/or a key conduit for personal and social development, it is a key mode for communication in the twenty-first century and has not been replaced by other modes. Rather, it is finding its place in the firmament of communication. This multi-national edited collection is the work of experts in the field who understand the relationship between research, policy and practice, and will be an authoritative guide for years to come.

    Professor Richard Andrews, University of Edinburgh, UK

    How can classroom instruction support children becoming writers? What pedagogical practices might teachers employ across schooling years to nurture children as writers? The capacity to write well is a critical factor of academic success and productive participation in learning and civic life. This edited volume of classroom research provides a needed resource that expertly addresses the complexity of supporting children becoming writers across time– from fostering emerging writers in the early years, to supporting social, linguistic and cognitive development of primary school writers, to addressing the complexity of writing in secondary schools. Chapters offer accessible accounts of interdisciplinary research with clear implications for pedagogical practices across the years of schooling.

    Maureen Boyd, Associate Professor, Department of Learning and Instruction, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, USA

    This book is an important contribution to the literature of writing development. It deals with fundamental  requirements for developing good writing education: It presents a nuanced understanding of the concept of writing development, it combines perspectives from both linguistics and psychology in a rich array of research, and throughout the book implications for classroom practices are discussed. The book challenges normative approaches and invites the readers to independently reflect on how to meet children’s needs as writers in the complex, multimodal and digital world of today. It will become an influential book in times when accountability and measuring achievements more and more  are prevailing.

    Synnøve Matre, Professor in Nordic Languages and Literature, Department of Teacher Education, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Trondheim, Norway