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Ways to Get Kids Into Writing


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Showing 26-38 of 38 posts in this discussion
Posted on Apr 10, 2012 8:55:29 AM PDT
Dan Cuoco says:
As a teacher and writer, I have a passion for getting kids hooked on writing (and reading.) I've found that many times, all it takes is getting a kid hooked on one genre of writing. In fact, many of my boys end up LOVING poetry...I share some different poems with them that would interest them (look up "creepy pizza"...that always gets them going). It also helps to use different formats to help them be successful (look up diamonte format for elementary students.) Some of my kids love writing narratives that include them, their friends, and sometimes...their teacher! Once students get hooked on a format, I can take two approaches in class for prompt writing. Prompts can be a useful tool, but often I either give students the topic and allow them to write whatever genre they want that we've studied, or give them the format and allow them to generate the topics. This makes it more interesting for kids and gives them ownership in their work.

Sometimes games can be interesting...have the whole class/small groups write a story by rotating who writes the next sentence. Some kids write me a weekly prompt that asks me to add to it at the end and they pick up where I left off the next week. As I said...as a teacher, first get them to LOVE writing...it doesn't have to be great at first. But once you get them to love expressing themselves, you can work on the format, grammar, etc...and they'll be more receptive to feedback.

Other things my fifth graders have loved: Give them pictures of interesting scenes and have them write the description. Have them write from the voice of someone in the picture. Have them draw a picture (of an alien or something) and a descriptive paragraph, then have a partner try to draw the same picture using ONLY the descriptive paragraph for directions. (They love that either way...either they're close and proud of that, or completely off and think it's funny...but it allows for a good teaching opportunity.) Have students write the "next chapter" of a story they're reading. All of these are different ways to engage young writers.

Hope that helps,

Dan Cuoco

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 12:00:25 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 10, 2012 12:00:57 PM PDT]

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 9:47:17 PM PDT
A lot of children find list making exceptionally fun. Lists of friends, kinds of pets they want, what to pack for a trip, their favorite toys in order of importance, grocery lists, etc. It can lead to more creative listmaking too: for instance, my child likes to make her own fashion catalogs, complete with drawings of the clothes, prices, and descriptions. She also likes to make charts and graphs about animals and favorite foods.

She found a TON of fun ideas in finish-the-doodle books and creative journals, such as Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls, and Tear Up This Book! (American Girl Library). Drawing the pictures and filling in the blanks often led to her wanting to make her own books and stories, then illustrate them as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 10:07:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2012 10:08:10 PM PDT
We have a program that I believe is the only one of its kind by any US publisher: The Young Writers Project. All during the year we actively seek full-length book submissions by US authors UNDER the age of 18. We're not talking about Dr Seuss or kiddie books, but actual novels or non-fiction. The best one is put through pro editing, cover creation, and we sign them to our standard contract. This happens once per year.

Their age at the time of submission must be verified, and we involve the parent (or guardian) heavily in the whole process. Part of it is for our protection, since we're speaking of juveniles here, and part of it is to ensure that the writer is actually who he/she says they are and meet the proper age criteria.

Their book is then released in six/nine paperback and for the Kindle. In fact, we just released the latest winner's book about a week ago. I'm not going to post up any links to the book, etc. If you were really interested you could find us easily anyway, and all details on submissions.

Robert Blevins
Managing Editor

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 6:32:08 PM PDT
Laura E Hill says:
Hi,
I write a children's chapter book series called the Great Story World Mx-Up with my daughters. I started developing story ideas with them at the bus stop having them fill in the "story blanks" from choices I would present. It's a great guided format and works well in lower grade classrooms as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 6:37:28 PM PDT
Laura E Hill says:
Hi, my daughters write a chapter book series for lower grade readers. Would that qualify for submission in your Young Writers Project?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 1:10:32 AM PDT
I am not the coordinator for YWP. That's done by Phoebe Ezell. For details, you would have to find us. Everyone goes through the same door as they say. I can't say anything else about it or it begins to look like self promotion.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 1:56:19 AM PDT
allegra says:
This may be too old- fashioned, and it's oral story-making, not writing, but we play a game when we're in the car, waiting in line, etc. I give the child three words, and he makes a story out of it. As long, short, silly as he wants. Then it's the next's turn. The kids are very creative and surprise me a lot - and it makes the time go faster, and gives each a chance to be heard, listen, etc.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 5:27:55 PM PDT
We have a writing game (for adults) which my children happily join in with but I'm sure a version could be made for children. You toss a coin to decide if you are writing the beginning or ending of a real story once you have heard the synopsis. One person writes the real one and everyone tries to guess which it is. It's easier to write and harder to guess than you might think!

The game is called "Ex Libris" but I couldn't find it on Amazon!

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 11:23:53 PM PDT
Warpath says:
Great thread! As a teacher, I am always looking for new ways to entice students into writing. One of the biggest thing I have found is that you really need to build off something kids are already passionate about, just like the fan fiction suggestion above. The use of stimulus pictures, YouTube clips and story starters are great too.

I work mainly with 9-12year olds, and with them I find the main stopping block is the kids belief the task is too big for them. Once you help them design a plan/framework for their story then they can continue very indepdently from there. But as I said the subject of the writing really needs to engage them.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 3:48:18 AM PDT
It's so much easier to start from the beginning. Far before your baby can read... read to your baby. Read to your children every day! Love books... you teach as you do... your child will know books as a natural part of this awesome and incredible world.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 4:40:25 AM PDT
Warpath says:
Would be wonderful if all parents shared you attitude towards books James.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 4:12:36 PM PDT
LyraG says:
Hazel,
Thanks! And thanks for posting those book links on the Write Your Own series. I have never heard of those, but will definitely check them out.
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  38
Initial post:  Mar 4, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 28, 2012

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