Keeping It Real – You Don’t Have To!
When teaching young writers, the focus is all too often placed on the basics, or fundamentals of writing. Prepositions, conjunctions, subject/verb agreement, verb phrases, action verbs vs. state of being verbs, adjectives and adverbs–they are all extremely important concepts, necessary for writing effectively. Yet, equally important is recognizing that young writers have limitless imaginations with boundless ideas. These imaginations and ideas as well as the joy of written expression need to be encouraged and expanded in conjunction with the basics and fundamentals of writing.
Recognizing this challenge can often lead to the obvious question: "How do young children learn 'Right Writing?'" How do they produce better writing right now?
A few basic concepts of my right-writing technique include:
- "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." It is often best to begin the first step toward effective writing with a mastery of the concept of a noun and a verb. Teaching nouns: that which is a person, place, thing, or idea, and verbs: that which demonstrates action or state of being, is paramount for the beginning writer. Simply put: "Who does what?" Remember, the "who" and the "what" can be anything your young writer imagines because as his/her story unfolds, and imagination takes it to galaxies far, far away or times yet unseen, you as the guide can teach him/her what the words actually say.
- Write with the writer, not for the writer: All too often young writers have the idea but not the ability to get it down because of spelling frustrations, language barriers, fine motor skill challenges, etc. Don't be afraid to take dictation…as long as you are simply writing down what the young writer states. Using color crayons can be a helpful tool as you can have different colors for the different word roles: blue for a noun, red for a verb, etc. In this way, not only is your young writer able to express his/her ideas with less frustration, you are also passively teaching the fundamental roles the words possess.
- Use a color palate and sneakers: Showing your young writer the colors of a color palate can be a useful tool to aid in his/her ability to create in words the colors of the story in his/her mind. Blue becomes azure, green becomes mint, red becomes crimson. Put on sneakers with your young writer and you can enjoy showing the many ways people walk, lumber, saunter, stroll, run, glide, etc.
- Paint a picture! Let your young readers draw the stories existing in their minds before they put them into words. It helps if they can see on paper what they had seen in their imagination. The paper picture becomes real and exciting for them as they put the picture description into words.
Love the journey! All too often, the wonderful dreams and wild imaginations existing in the minds of young writers are quelled by the well-intentioned concept of getting the sentence correct. Right-writing teaches the young writer the joy of descriptive writing, while maintaining both the essence of what exists in the imagination and the fundamentals of presenting it for the reader to share.
This post is part of the series: Right Writing
- Right Writing: The Right Method to Write It Right
- Addressing the Unique Needs of Middle/High School Students with Right Writing