Teaching Writing


writing, the visible recording of language peculiar to the human species. Writing enables the transmission of ideas over vast distances of time and space and is a prerequisite of complex civilization. Where, and by whom writing was first developed remains unknown, but scholars place the beginning of writing at 6,000 BC The norm of writing is phonemic; i.e., it attempts to symbolize all significant sounds of the language and no others (see phonetics). When the goal is established as one letter for one phoneme (and vice versa), the result is a complete alphabet. Few alphabets attain this phonemic ideal, but some ancient ones (e.g., Sanskrit) and some modern new ones (e.g., Finnish) have been very successful. The contemporary important writing not of alphabetic type is that in Chinese characters, in which thousands of symbols are used, each representing a word or concept, and Japanese, where each character represents a syllable. The Chinese system is distant enough from the spoken language that the same characters are used in writing mutually unintelligible dialects, e.g., Cantonese and Mandarin. In some languages, as in English and French, the modern freezing of spelling has removed the writing more and more from pronunciation and has resulted in the need to teach spelling and the growth of fallacies like the "silent" letter (a letter is really either the symbol of a sound or it is unnecessary). Writing was developed independently in Egypt (see hieroglyphic), Mesopotamia (see cuneiform), China, and among the Zapotec, Olmec, and Maya in Central America. There are some areas where the question as to whether writing was adopted or independently developed is in doubt, as at Easter Island. Ancient writing, at first pictographic in nature, is best known from stone and clay inscriptions, but the use of perishable materials, mainly palm leaf, papyrus, and paper, began in ancient times. See accent; calligraphy; punctuation; paleography.

See J. H. Ober, Writing: Man's Greatest Invention (1964); O. Ogg, The 26 Letters (rev. ed. 1971); J. A. Fishman, Advances in the Creation and Revision of Writing Systems (1977); A. Gaur A History of Writing (1984); G. Sampson Writing Systems (1985); R. Harris, The Origin of Writing (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Teaching Writing: Selected full-text books and articles

Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing By Irene L. Clark; Betty Bamberg; Darsie Bowden; John R. Edlund; Lisa Gerrard; Sharon Klein; Julie Neff Lippman; James D. Williams Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003
Writing: The Nature, Development, and Teaching of Written Communication By Marcia Farr Whiteman Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, vol.1, 1981
Reconceiving Writing, Rethinking Writing Instruction By Joseph Petraglia Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Teaching Writing Strategies through Multimedia Authorship (1) By Carlin-Menter, Shannon M.; Shuell, Thomas J Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Language and Image in the Reading-Writing Classroom: Teaching Vision By Kristie S. Fleckenstein; Linda T. Calendrillo; Demetrice A. Worley Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice By James D. Williams Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003 (3rd edition)
Teaching Academic Writing: A Toolkit for Higher Education By Caroline Coffin; Mary Jane Curry; Sharon Goodman; Ann Hewings; Theresa M. Lillis; Joan Swann Routledge, 2003
Reading, Writing, and the Rhetorics of Whiteness By Wendy Ryden; Ian Marshall Routledge, 2012
I-Writing: The Politics and Practice of Teaching First-Person Writing By Karen Surman Paley Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
Teaching Language Arts in Middle Schools: Connecting and Communicating By Sharon Kingen Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Teaching Writing"
Writing Instruction or Destruction: Lessons to Be Learned from Fourth-Grade Teachers' Perspectives on Teaching Writing By Brindley, Roger; Schneider, Jenifer Jasinski Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 53, No. 4, September-October 2002
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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