Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nurturing Young Writers

A main emphasis this week is writing personal narratives--sharing stories we want to remember and tell the world about.

I try every strategy I know to motivate these young authors. Strategies such as the following:
  • Pretend you're telling the story to a good friend as you write.
  • Just get down the big ideas, then go back and fill in the details.
  • Draw the illustrations first as that helps you to remember all the details.
  • Close your eyes and go back to that place and time in your memory--relive the moment.
  • Don't tell about the whole vacation, trip or experience, instead choose a "small moment" to share.
  • Write so that you're "painting pictures" or "making a movie" in the reader's mind.
  • Choose words carefully--like a magician use words to recreate your story in the reader's mind--words like strong verbs which create the action and amazing adjectives that give the story size, color, texture, personality and flavor.
  • Tell your story through the senses--let your reader taste, touch, smell, hear and see your story.
  • Use the story mountain planner--introduce the problem, setting and characters to start, build the action to the most exciting moment, then share the story's heart and resolution leaving the reader with something to "take away" or remember.
I'm sure you can think of many, many more strategies when it comes to writing a good story--there are so many avenues to telling a tale.

Today, I'll create an environment which empowers writing--a peaceful, quiet, calm writing studio.  I'll share my story and focus on the self-edit process as the focus lesson showing them how I reread my story and improve it by thinking about the readers while I review the story word-by-word and phrase-by-phrase. Children will then use their laptops, Google docs and KidPix to write and illustrate memorable tales.  Tales they'll later self-edit and edit with teachers and friends. Tales we'll share with our chosen audience--the third graders. 

To nurture young writers, educators need to bring forth their writing energy, goals and commitment--they need to coach from the heart to lead these students forward with joy and strength.