Drafting is the stage of the process where voice begins to emerge. As a writer’s work begins to take shape, voices are heard with greater clarity. They become distinct. Refined. Identifiable. I think this requires something of an evolution though. Drafting delivers voice when writers are provided time and a safe environment to create in. Too often, we ask kids to attend to organization first and foremost, and as a result, they produce writing that is formulaic and bland. Allowing students time to consider how word choice and sentence fluency contribute to voice is essential. Providing direct instruction around these traits and equipping students with strategies that they may use to perfect their work is as well.
Working the process is what leads us to better products. Writing is recursive. It also begs for our time. Kids need to know that they can pause long enough to understand their purpose, their audience, and the mode they would like their message to live within. Then, they can begin drafting slowly, considering whether or not the voice is working. If it isn’t, they must stop long enough to mold it. Think about the work of illustrators. Think about the work of musicians. Their processes are the processes of our young writers. It can’t be about getting the piece done so that a teacher can grade it. It’s all about working the process in order to grow.
Encouraging students to become active participants within any of the forums I mentioned the other day can provide valuable support to them during the drafting phase of the writer’s process. Using mentor text to model how different voices “sound” is helpful as well. Anastasia Suen provides reviews of picture books and instructional ideas that are aligned to the Traits right here. Be sure to scroll down to her categories menu so that you may search her archives by Trait. When you’re done, stop back and give this book a read. Distinct voice. Beautiful message. You can find others on Lookybook.
Click on the little eyes to access a larger version if necessary!
This post is the third in a series focusing on the writing process and the 6+1 Traits of Writing. You may find the others here:
Ideas Inspire Prewriting Inspires Ideas
Introducing Young Writers to the Peer Review Process
Honoring Editors of Every Ability Level