Pumicestone State School is committed to improving writing outcomes across the school. The staff wanted to develop a consistent approach and process of teaching writing throughout the school.
The Seven Steps to Writing Success program has been very successful in developing students’ writing skills and improving NAPLAN writing band scores in a number of Queensland schools and clusters and focuses on the craft of writing by breaking these skills into manageable chunks.
What is the Seven Steps Program?
The Seven Steps to Writing Success program was created by Australian author and teacher, Jen McVeity in 2004. Her Seven Steps to Writing Success program has proved to rapidly improve students’ writing skills and get students engaged in writing. The program is being successfully used in hundreds of schools, both in Australia and the USA. The program has also significantly improved students’ NAPLAN test scores.
Pedagogy behind the Seven Steps to Writing Success Framework
The Seven Steps to Writing Success program is underpinned by the principle of chunking writing into discrete, teachable elements of which students attain mastery through repetition. Emphasis is given to the importance of talking, brainstorming and planning before writing and the program encourages group and paired activities. (Jen McVeity, 2015).
The program is based on the following pedagogical principles:
Chunk learning (… “for any learning activity to be effective it has to be taught step by step”, John Fleming)
Repetition and practice reinforces learning (… “we have to process new material in order to transfer it from our working memory to our long-term memory”)
Brainstorm first – write second (…the prewriting stage involves brainstorming, planning and organizing)
Verbal is Vital (…verbal language is critical for the development of literacy skills; it develops engaged, responsive and reciprocal learning relationships with children; all the research shows students learn better when they are active participants, not just passively listening)
Consistency creates change (… change can’t happen in a day, but by being consistent, change can happen in a term, Jen McVeity)
The Seven Steps is a unique system that chunks writing into seven main techniques.
The Seven Steps are:
1. Plan for Success
2. Sizzling Starts
3. Tightening Tension
4. Dynamic Dialogue
5. Show, Don’t Tell
6. Ban the Boring
7. Exciting Endings