Writing for Life Adelaide (PD367)

AUD $245.00

We are thrilled to announce this writing workshop live event.

Previously called “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword”, this guide to high impact literacy teaching will help raise your understanding of the components of successful writing.

The overarching theme is that writing needs to be taught explicitly and practised well.

The course consists of background information on the process of writing, what can go wrong, and research-informed strategies to help teachers deliver even higher quality literacy instruction in their classrooms right away.

SESSION 1 Underlying skills and knowledge for writing

We start by exploring the components of writing and the critical processes that underlie writing fluency. We touch on:

  • Orthographic mapping
  • Working memory
  • The Simple View of Writing

SESSION 2 The Survival List

At Lifelong Literacy, our goal is to teach all of our students to read and write fluently. To do this, we have a list of words they need to learn as a priority. It’s called The Survival List and it constitutes some of the most common words in the English language, as well as subject-specific words for that particular student.

There are plenty of word lists readily available, such as the Dolch or Fry or Magic 100 lists, but they contain a mixture of simple and complex patterns. For instance, in the Dolch list, the word big (a simple 1:1 CVC pattern) is right there with away (a two-syllable word containing a digraph) and said (an unusual pronunciation of the digraph <ai>, which only really occurs in this word and in some accents in the word again, but which follows the grammatical/etymological pattern of lay and pay).

The amount of times we see children being given homework requiring them to learn this mishmash of random patterns is astonishing. It is simply not viable for many children.

As a solution, we have extracted the words that don’t have a transparent code structure and have placed them in families containing similar patterns. We use a simple marking system and a four-step analysis process that is taught to students so that they become aware of the words’ morphological and etymological structure and kinships.

The Survival List and 4-Step Process therefore is a template to teach any words for automatic recall when writing.

This list is called the Survival List for two reasons:

  1. Because knowing how to read and spell the words on their list will help them become fluent readers and writers as quickly as possible and
  2. Because the techniques used to learn these words can extend to other words with complex patterns that students can teach themselves, thus helping them to survive the onslaught of increasing complexity and expectation as their academic career unfolds.

SESSION 3 What about writing?

With high quality initial instruction, the majority of children can learn to read, regardless of diagnosis. But what about writing? Achievement of accurate, fluent written expression requires instruction and practice far beyond that needed for reading. Partly as a result of this, the value of high quality, early writing instruction can be neglected or downplayed in primary school, thus leading to large populations who fail to develop appropriate levels of written expression.

Teaching all children to write is hard, but worth the effort. In this module, we explore:

  • Matthew effects in writing and how this can be combatted
  • Muscle memory
  • Phrases, clauses and sentences
  • Quality vs. quantity
  • Dysgraphia

We also look into ways in which current practice in schools can be geared towards getting all children to improve their handwriting skills, as well as where to draw the line and get the most out of technology.

The course consists of background information on the process of writing, what can go wrong, and research-informed strategies to help teachers deliver even higher quality literacy instruction in their classrooms right away.

Duration: 5 PD hours

Cost: $245 per person ( GST)

PLEASE NOTE: Places strictly limited due to social distancing protocols. A second day may be announced, should we reach our limit.


All sales are final. In the event of pandemic restrictions impeding our ability to present this workshop, registrants will be able to choose from one of two options. Due to travel, accommodation and venue costs, refunds cannot be granted. The choices are:

  • Receive a credit for future purchases (valid for 12 months from date of credit) of online courses, face to face workshops or consultancy fees.
  • Await a postponement date and transfer registration to this.


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