ERIC Number: ED234416
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jun
Reference Count: 0
The Nature and Development of Letter Writing in Hispanic and Anglo Children Using a School-Based Postal System. Final Report.
Greene, Jennifer E.
Most school writing required of students is done in artificial situations that have little resemblance to the writing demands people actually face. For this reason, students often fail to see the value of writing and thus produce writing that does not reflect their true ability to communicate. In a bilingual Los Angeles school serving students from low income Hispanic and Anglo backgrounds, a method was devised to make writing more meaningful. Students in grades two through four were asked to write letters each day to anyone in the school they chose. These letters were then distributed through a school "post office" system. Students were free to write in English or Spanish; the letters were not graded, or even read, by teachers; and students wrote whatever they wished. Letters written by 32 students were analyzed for three aspects of writing development: (1) the acquisition of the ability to write and respond to letters, (2) the purposes for which students wrote, and (3) the acquisition of the ability to take another's perspective. Results indicated that while the students were not becoming good writers instantly, they were developing fluency and learning that writing can be fun and rewarding. The findings contributed to theory and practice by showing the use of an effective instructional method and by enabling researchers to study samples produced in response to a real writing situation. (Extensive writing samples are included in the text.) (FL)
Descriptors: Bilingual Students, Elementary Education, English, Interpersonal Communication, Learning Activities, Letters (Correspondence), Socioeconomic Status, Spanish Speaking, Student Motivation, Student Writing Models, Writing Exercises, Writing Improvement, Writing Processes, Writing Research, Writing Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness; Theory Practice Relationship