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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by CurlySue, Jan 30, 2008.
What do you think about Reception children writing on lines?
Depends what stage they are at in their mark making.
My top children do write on lines (When in an adult focussed activity group) as they are getting really confident with their writing now, including capital letters, finger spaces and full stops and I find that lines help to guide their writing to becoming more consistent in size.
We always use nice paper though with relevant borders etc and space to do pictures etc. ********** do lovely bordered papers as do www.communication4all.co.uk - these are available with full lines, half lined sheets, plain sheets, colour and black and white. Much more exciting than just boring white paper with lines! (or not!)
Lower ability children don't.
Lined paper is, however, always available in the writing area along side many many various papers so they get to see all sorts as they would in everyday life.
In answer to the questions about writing on lines, I always give my children lines to write on, but they don't all do it correctly. I always think it's a good idea to train them from the outset, and really praise when they start using them more neatly. Once they get bad habits about things like the tails of the 'g', 'y' and so on, it is very hard to undo them.
I can't seem to find the different lined papers on 'communications4all' - any clues as to where to find it???
I also love the 'pencil skills' booklets, but can only find book one - help!!!
communications4all.co.uk papers can be found ...
Click Literacy on left hand side
Click on 'click here to go to story writing section'
and it's there
'a beautiful selection of themed paper that will inspire and delight'!!!
There is a comprehensive set of grapheme flash cards where the letters are written on lines in the free unit 1 of www.phonicsinternational.com for anyone who is keen to model positional value along with the basic letter shapes. Of course you would have to print them on card or laminate them to make them durable.
My 'ground, grass and sky' writing aids have proved useful with helping children to write on lines correctly...
Hope they're of use (all free)
That may be the case as you have seen it Msz but it doesn't discount the views of the poster who observed that lines are unecessary for five year old children as a blanket approach. The insistence of writing on lnes has little to do with learning the early mechanics of letter formation- as likewise perhaps, we don't give toddlers white lines down the hall to toddle along. Each thing in its time, insistence too early on lines jumps the delicious stage where children are playing with line and form and meaning, toddling through meaning and symbol, letter and line. That includes random or organised letter strings which with support begin to relate to words. Too much emphasis on the final form does not match the real learning that a child might be engaged in, and as such a real teaching opportunity is lost. BY the time they are six or seven there is plenty of time to then sort out the finer points of form. Earlier is not better in most things and reading recovery might have certain justifiable criticisms to which you allude but there are surely many points of truth in there. There are five year olds all over the world, not just in the early-literacy focussed UK.
To be honest yohanalicante we use lined paper because that is what the children prefer, so unecessary or not that is what they like. Do you suggest I say sorry you must write on plain paper because you are five?
Many, many things. The main thing being it doesn't work.
interesting but perhaps says more about your children and your school than children's universal development. It also depends on what you choose to pick up on and highlight in your teaching. CHilden very quickly cotton on to what is 'desired' and in their wish to please will comply. no need to apologise just show them you value all routes on the learning journey. whether the signposts were first erected by 'Reading Recovery' or other route-finders. They are five, the 'must' of lines or not, is more a cul-de-sac, wherein we may lose the potential of that fantastic plasticity and variety in their explorations.......I think the role of the teacher for childrenof 3,4,5,6,7 is so important and that importance has no greater practical demonstration than in the understanding of children's purposes, their differences in interest, rates of development and character. It is subtle and immensly humanising work which can release children from self-fulfilling limits and family disadvantage or it can further confirm them. Everything we do touches on everything we are and understand. SO it might seem only a small detail but our approach to early writing is our approach to young children in general, don't you think?
Sorry yohanalicante but I think you do children universally an injustice if you believe they don't happily write on lines long before they arrive in school. They are familiar with lined paper in the home and are more than capable of using lines. Please don't underestimate young children.
Try providing both and see which children use ... you may well have your beliefs challenged as I had mine.
Msz, either you didn't read what I wrote or I didn't write it clearly enough. I did not say 'must' or 'must not' I said that it needs to follow the 'lines' (sorry no pun intended) of children's development. I spend a great deal of time with young children, I don't underestimate them, including many who are in other systems of education and who may write on lines when they wish and equally NOT, I have always provided both, and many other types of marked papers. you have either misread, misunderstood or misinterpreted my comments. I may be unclear in my writing - however I have ben around far too many teachers who do underestimate the steps in learning and having their teaching objectives too much to the forefront look for an early formalised product before it is yet necessary.
No yohanalicante you said my pupil's free choice of lined paper was an attempt to please me which I know is untrue. I previously held the belief (as you appear to still do) that it wasn't developmenatally appropriate to give lined paper to young children and provided plain paper which the children disliked so in response to their preferences I changed my practice. So you might in fact argue I provide lined books to please them.
ou have taken it personally. The points I raise are in a general context that young children will try to please, that teachers will rush through to product rather than explore process and that children up to six or seven have a lot of exploration and richness to experience rather than being rushed into literacy. You may (as I think you do) agree with this. I have seen both sides of the coin, lines- unlined etc. I think the debate is cul-de-sac It is not about you personally but as you are aware one of the hottest subjects in the UK and schools as always is early literacy so I think it is valid to mention the above points. They were not directed at you although I did intend to put your remarks about reading recovery in some kind of more positive perspective about those who have helped us look a little more carefully at the processes of yong children's learning. .
I'm afraid it is difficult to take it otherwise when you state
"but perhaps says more about your children and your school than children's universal development. It also depends on what you choose to pick up on and highlight in your teaching. CHilden very quickly cotton on to what is 'desired' and in their wish to please will comply. "
you seem to making assumptions based on your own values
ye you are right. Apologies. The first sentence was I think correct in saying that one can't generalise from your children. The second sentence should hav better read 'depends on what one...... picks up on and highlights in teaching..' Observations based on children rather than assumptions. I did somewhere write about 'blanket' approaches' so you should see we are very much along similar lines. I am a little lazy as a writer I fear and the interpretation of my values may seem at odds with yours. However I will draw attention to the early-schooled UK child as opposed to otherwise even though this is mainly a schoolteachers support forum, as I think we should always keep in mind the wider picture. If that is a value based assum[ption then so be it.
I'm sure the parent who wrote this won't mind me reporoducing it here
Yesterday I had a meeting with the (French) Headmistress of an English school in Paris. Her school teaches a modified version of the National Curriculum and children start to learn letters and numbers in YR in her school. This Headmistress, who had wide and varied experience of different school systems, said that she thought the British system was by far the most gentle on children, teaching them the basics slowly from an early age and ensuring lots of other non-formal learning activities went on in the classroom. She contrasted the British system to the French system, where the children learn very little for the three years of école maternelle and then have to work very hard and intensively indeed for the five years of primary. Her opinion was that the French system was a lot tougher than the English one for fragile children, who were better off starting school earlier and learning more slowly.
it seems our early-schooled UK children aren't suffering institutionalised child abuse after all
rose coloured spectacles or blinkers Msz? I would hope I don't wear either, perhaps according to you I do. I know the faults of other international systems and the erros of comparisons with there being too many cultural variables not obvious at first sight . I speak about the UK system because it has grown me first as a child and now as a teacher. My ideals are not based on a false ideal of a foreign utopia. They are based on first hand work teaching very young children in the UK and Europe. Maybe I am just fed up of seeing the same wheel spinning around and being re-invented in the primary school when the nursery school resolved it years ago. I thought we had gone beyond the 'lines' debate. It's just not that important that they do, it is arguably more important they know they can do it 'without' (as well as having the opportunity 'with').
Does it matter that they don't see lined paper until six ?- no. Does it matter that they don't have opportunities to pass through all the stages of early mark-making, continuous letter strings, reversals etc?. Yes. These are reception aged children. UNder five in many cases. That s not underestimating them. Its celebrating them in their own terms..
and giving them the time to grow to which they are duly entitlted.
Where has anyone suggested that children should not have had (and continue to have) opportunities to mark make using a huge range of materials, These are part of every good Early Years setting and no one is advocating that it should be otherwise but whether you like it or not most children will have seen and used lined paper long before they set foot in a school and apparently without any long term harm.
And yes it is underestimating them to believe they aren't capable of making the choice to use lined paper when presented with a number of options and yes it is underestimating them to believe they are incapable of writing on lines simply because they are only five (or even younger). Please also give children the opportunity to surprise you and celebrate that.