One of the first studies to spur interest in how students compose was Janet Emig’s The Composing Process of Twelfth Graders. These students were asked to “compose aloud” while writing essays. Emig discovered that writing is recursive, not linear, that audience influences the writing process, and there are certain stages of writing that can be identified. This study helped delineate specific strategies for prewriting, writing and rewriting stages.
Kathleen Yancey discovered that reflection another stage important to writing improvement involves reflection. This process involves setting goals, thinking of ways to achieve the goals and deciding if you are successful in meeting those goals. Reflection is important in the process of writing or in examining the product and can be essential to the revising stage.
In another study, Mina Shaughnessey discovered in a study involving basic writing students that there are certain common patterns of errors in the writing process. She viewed these errors as a problem-solving activity rather than simply a result of not memorizing the rules correctly. The process of writing involves new errors because it involves new patterns of expression. Errors are thus part of the developmental process.
Reading is connected to the writing process according to David Bartholomae. They both involve making connections with other texts, personal experiences and other ideas. Understanding this connection encourages rereading and rethinking. The reading process is essential to entering the conventions of the academy. Reading cannot be separated from the writing process.
Mariolina Salvatori delves into this interconnectedness when she explores some of the obstacles to reading comprehension. Reading can be as a way of engaging in the conversation, where you write in response to what you read to make meaning out of the text. Reading and writing are extensions of the social activity of oral communication and therefore reading is a crucial part of the composing process.
This examination process that connects reading and writing always involves interpretation. Ann Berthoff argues that making meaning in reading and writing must involve a specific framework. The reading and writing process is a hermeneutic act which must be guided. Some context must be used to bring meaning to the reading and writing process. This making of meaning through writing allows the student retain information which would likely drift away from immediate memory.
To study the composing process means understanding how we use language to interpret and know the world. The composing process thus acknowledges that we are meaning-making beings.