I am wondering something. Can children who struggle with writing become better writers on the computer and transfer their new writing skills to a paper pencil format. I understand there is an amount of time young people need to attain keyboarding skills. This lack of keyboard awareness can impede the process of getting ideas onto paper. However, there is so much great support newer word programs can provide in the area of conventions. As a child writes, he or she is given constant reminders about spelling, punctuation and grammar with the help of red lines that show up on the page underneath parts of writing that are not considered standard. Immediately a child can see there is an error that needs to be corrected. This exercise can help a child to experience editing and revision skills that can be more frustrating with paper and pencil.
So, instead of using the computer for mostly publishing written work, I am going to try to take as many opportunities I can for children to compose their ideas on the computer. I am even considering having the computer available for students as they respond to questions they would normally complete on a worksheet. If we were doing a science investigation, for example, why can't one of the groups record their data in a word program together. Or why can't partners work together to compose written ideas. One child could be the scribe the other the composer. If they are collaborating as they construct written ideas won't their writing be twice as good? I'll have to see where this takes me. I can definitely say that during my writer's workshop time students seemed very motivated when given the opportunity to write using the computer.