Writing Practice

When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote stories about superhero I created called “Risk Man.” Later, I wrote a story in 5th grade about a hero named “Dark Silo”. (It was a direct copy of the Star Wars Saga and Darth Vader / Luke Sky Walker). When I was a child, I was obsessed with super heroes and science fiction. It wasn’t until much later that my interests became much varied. I did not have a Montessori education and so i wasn’t exposed to as much History, Geography, Geology, Geometry, Grammar, etc as your child was at such a young age.

However, many teachers have encouraged me to write throughout my life and I am grateful. I’ve been writing ever since. It wasn’t until I lived in Taiwan from 2010-2012 that I got a job as a writer. I wrote for a monthly magazine called Rainbow Time. The stories were aimed at Taiwanese elementary school children learning to read and speak English. As a published author, my opinion is that if you want children to love writing, they have to write about what they love. If you want students to hate writing–or anything for that matter–force them to do it. And make them worry about spelling and length and start counting the words.

Starting Monday, I met with children in small groups to help them hone in about what they are passionate about. The great thing about children under the age of 12 is that they are generally passionate about something. THAT is what I want them to write about. Later, in the 2nd draft or 3rd or 4th draft we will talk about spelling and periods and capital letters. But I want the first draft or “freewrite” to be free of worry so they enjoy the process.

Starting in January, children will have regular instruction in the writing process. This starts with writing practice. Before children can write a polished final draft of a poem, story, or essay they need to start with a “freewrite”. This means that they write in a journal without having to worry about length, spelling, or anything else. Just write. I don’t need all children to share my dream of being a published author, but I do want them to love writing, just like I want all children to love reading, Math, and History.

How can you help as a parent? Ask what kind of writing your child likes to read–that’s what they should be writing. 

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