Writing is a process, not a destination! It’s very easy for us as teachers to get overwhelmed by the task of helping young writers improve. The challenge seems daunting at times. Take the pressure off of yourself to create perfect writers and replace your thinking to produce improving writers. Below is an example of a student who started his fourth grade year without a lot of writing instruction.
At first glance, this writer obviously needs a lot of work. You may ask where should I start in terms of instruction? The first skill of Empowering Writers is entertaining beginnings. There are a few key elements that would get this student off to a better start.
Empowering Writers instruction provides teachers with specific strategies and lessons using these four techniques for creating entertaining story beginnings.
Let’s look at how this story might unfold if this skill had been taught:
I sprinted barefoot towards the sunny beach, board in hand, and jumped into the ocean just waiting for the big kahuna of all waves!
Notice that by deleting mom, dad, sister etc., we can better focus on the main character and setting. This “action” beginning draws the reader in and gets the story off and rolling.
The next paper that this child wrote was much better. Not perfect, but a clear improvement, based on the specific instruction that took place. That’s what we want growing writers! Try it on for size and see what difference it will make in your instruction and in student writing.