One key phenomenon in English teaching is that writing grades are almost always lower than reading grades.
Partly this is to do with the way both are marked. The marking of writing requires
The discerning of separate skills
The judgment of these skills along a scale
The judgment of which of these skills is the most important to deciding an overall judgment.
What these skills are not is is in universal agreement.
What skills are most important for deciding overall grade are not only debatable, but also depend on the purpose of the piece.
The application of a judgement scale is not consistent within a single teachers, and certainly between different teachers
Compared with this, the marking of reading at Key Stage 3 (and certainly at Key Stage 4 if the language b option is chosen) leads to tests that offer a score for the total number of points. This has the same error as reading age tests that add or remove months to total score depending on the whim of knowing one word, our not.
Moreover, promoting reading amongst students is nut so problematic as promoting writing. Writing journals, like freedom writers, have yet to be used in a way that I see as effective: there is not much more regular class-wide practice that I see promoted than this.
Significantly, Professor Cox and Gunther Kress provocatively said that students do not seem to write creatively in the outside world. However, that is how we teach writing: piece after piece of creative writing. There exists the notion that creative writing is the highest form of writing; however, maybe a substantial foundation of Level 4 or C grade writing is what should aim to teach.
Basic literacy is often bemoaned by the Western media. The truth, we live in an era where the vast populance if far more literate than ever, and where far more people are reading far more words than ever. Of course, the traditionally educated populace might have more erratice literacy skills as more people are able to take jobs involving expansive literacy without having entirely secured literacy skills. Just read the emails and messages of highly paid professionals to see homophone errors and the like.
These spelling errors are not really what makes writing effective or not. Formality in writing is the heart of whether writing is effective, or not. The ability to influence how the reader might respond to the writing is the height of its aims.
When we teach constructs of writing, how much of this helps to actually improve the production of writing.
Another traditional issue with writing is that students are taught essential ideas like clauses and other methods of identifying constructs in writing. However, when writing begins, it is not the these techniques that stay in your head.
The sleeping mind and the waking mind.
To move beyond osmosis, we need to provide a framework of techniques that are tangible, that students can actually hold in their conscious mindsc as they write. Working memory overload may not occur when the purpose of the paragraph and one technique is held in the conscious mind. The idea is that practise and routine might consolidate these skillsv so they do not absorb the working memory so much.
To this end, much of teaching writing exists as a form of behavior or inspiration management. It isn’t meant, but it does suggest the notion that imagination or motivation leads to content. Props and the like are used. This had been used with success. But without the framework of techniques, this falls down.
In.terms of extending writing, the control over connotation is king. Orwell said that the movement from thinking to writing is akin to the movement from seeing birds flying above you to shooting them to fall splat on your page. The ability to write for connotation is the key for writing in a foreign language. The techniques used may not have inherent meaning in themselves, but rather exist to provide emphasis on the connotations intended, or rather, hoped for.
One aspect of this focus is that the feeling of being our of control of your writing is somewhat alleviated, our at least explained and accounted for. You cannot direct the reader to the absolute connotations that they will detect and experience. However, you can guide them to develop connotations along the broad categorisations of human experience, good and bad, positive and negative, happy and sad. The more sophisticated the reader, the more likely they are to detect more subtle nuances, including those that enhance your meaning that perhaps (nay, definitely!) did not intend. All you can do is use a conscious variance of the writing techniques to guide your reader to place greater emphasis on these key points, words and phrases.
The final piece to this model of teaching writing, rather learning writing or how to write, is the conscious construction of writing for a real audience.
So, with this in mind, a variety of seconds from various writing types can be constructed for a range of purposes for a real audience in each.