Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know|
David A. Stewart and Bryan R. Clarke
Chapter Eight: Writing
This chapter will help you understand
The teacher taught in the middle school program at a school for deaf children and had a twice-weekly writing requirement: Students engaged in fifteen minutes of uninterrupted, sustained, silent reading everyday. During the two writing sessions, the students were encouraged to write about anything at all, and the teacher read what they wrote but made no corrections to their work. Instead, he would meet with the students individually in brief encounters that often led to animated discussions. The teacher helped the students think about what they had written, how best to get the message across, and how they might improve upon their efforts the next time they wrote.
Heather was a twelve-year-old deaf girl with a fifth-grade reading level whose English skills were adequate at a basic level. She could write grammatically correct sentences following patterns that her previous teachers had taught her. She kept her stories short and her grammar accurate. This manner of writing, however, lacked vitality, and at the beginning of the year, she often rendered dry recaps of her life:
Saturday, I had a lot of fun. I went to see the movie called, The Princess Diaries. I enjoyed the movie. It was a fun movie to watch. I stayed home Sunday. I watched TV with my sister.Through conversations with the teacher, she realized the value of elaborating upon different aspects of her story. In addition, she came to understand that one function of writing is to entertain other people. She learned that writing a story is not simply telling something to somebody; rather, it is saying something to others in such a way that they will want to read it. At first, Heather found this a difficult concept to incorporate into her thinking about writing. For years, she had aimed at writing correctly and with precision rather than for social reasons. To write well, she now had to learn how to take risks in her writing by experimenting with words and letting the story, rather than her knowledge of grammar, guide her writing.