Learning to be a writer: why play really matters

Written by: Dr Kate Smith
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

To be a writer, children need experiences similar to those associated with play – testing skills through trial and error, exploring ideas imaginatively and creating something providing a sense of accomplishment.

EYE

Key points

  • Practitioners and parents know the important role that play has in motivating children, and the sense of achievement that playful activity can provide
  • Playful writing, like all writing, has a social function. The teachers found that it was common in collaborative play for children to respond to each other and extend their play using communicative marks (signs, symbols, letters and numbers
  • It is spontaneous and involves adaptation
  • It is a materially rich experience, and so its success will depend largely on the quality of the materials offered to children

The influential developmental theorist, Lev Vygotsky (1967), wrote that: ‘In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.’ Like Vygotsky, practitioners and parents know the important role that play has in motivating children, and the sense of achievement that playful activity can provide.

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