Here are a few nuggets I walked away with::
- be aware of your child's feelings about writing--does even the mention of writing bring tears and frustration? We want our children to have success in their school work (and in their life). Make sure you connect with your child emotionally, relationally, because writing is a personal endeavor.
- If you have be critical of the child's writing in the past and have hurt his/her feelings, start by apologizing to your child. This will be the first step in your strategy for encouraging your young writer.
- Honor the child. Encourage each attempt at writing. Find one good thing to praise. Don't immediately look at the misspelled words, missed punctuation and run-on sentences. Look at the content.
- Ask questions that draw out "more" from the child. For example: if the child writes "Rollerblading is cool." Ask him "What makes rollerblading cool?"
- Writing thrives on letting some of the problems go. Only work on 1 or 2 things at a time. Don't overwhelm or discourage the child. Writing can be exhausting--just the physical aspects of writing; however when you also are demanding creativity in word choice it can be way too much for the child.
- Writing is 'breathing' and 'moving'. Type the paragraph (rough draft) with each sentence on its own line. Cut the sentences apart and have the child manipulate them to see if a different order would be more interesting or sound better.
- Good writing takes time. 4 weeks per writing assignment from start to finish is a good time frame.
- For young children, write/transcribe what they say. They will learn that writing is for shared enjoyment. Read it to the family at supper time.
I'm praying that I can implement some of Julie's ideas and certainly her philosophy on teaching writing. Brave Writer works for me!
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