Temple’s “Beginnings of Writing” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Temple’s “Beginnings of Writing”

One of four books Professor of Education Charles Temple has been working on this year has been published. “The Beginnings of Writing,” fourth edition, has been published by Pearson Publishing. Temple is co-author with Ruth Nathan a literacy research specialist at UC Berkeley and Codruta Temple, assistant professor of modern languages at SUNY Cortland.

The first edition of “The Beginnings of Writing” came out in 1982, the year Temple joined the Education Department at HWS. It was the first comprehensive treatment of children’s invented spelling, from a psycholinguistic viewpoint, and was feted in the New York Times.

“The book, lavishly illustrated with samples of young children’s scribbles and ingeniously crafted written messages, was the first to explain to the larger public the phenomenon of children’s invented spelling, that the relatively new field of psycholinguistics was bringing to light through the work of Carol Chomsky, Charles Read, and my Ph.D. adviser, the late Edmund Henderson at the University of Virginia,” explains Temple.

The publisher’s description of the book also points to the illustration and student examples, as well as describing what an asset the book can be to teachers. “In ‘The Beginnings of Writing,’ the authors give the clearest, most comprehensive source on young children’s development of writing, illustrating every concept with student artifacts. From scribbles and invented spelling to composition, this book also presents the most careful attention to children’s development available, illuminating what they are trying to do as they write. Using this highly popular, well-respected book as a guide, teachers gain a practical, clear understanding of each child’s present challenges and successes as (s)he develops competence in writing and develop the skills needed to offer appropriate instruction and support at each point in the child’s learning.”

The fourth edition deviates from previous editions to stay current with the significant changes the education field has undergone – and is still traversing. “The emphasis in this fourth edition is less on exploring the fascinating self-guided discoveries of children learning to express themselves on paper, and more on the history of the English language and our writing system, along with extensive treatment of the phonetics and phonology of English. That is because we believe it’s important that teachers helping children learn to read and write know more about the language they are working with,” says Temple.

Temple has three other books in production: “All Children Read,” fourth, edition; “Children’s Books in Children’s Hands,” fifth edition; and a new book that is a spin off from “Children’s Books in Children’s Hands.” All are with Pearson Publishing and Temple is the first author on the updated editions.

These new books add to the portfolio of publications Temple has with Pearson: “Understanding Reading Problems,” eighth Edition; “The Developmental Literacy Inventory;” and “Intervening for Literacy.”

Temple is the co-founder and director of the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Project in association with the International Reading Association. He received a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina, and a M.Ed. in curriculum studies and a Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia. He also taught at the University of Houston-Victoria.