Actions That Spark Student Interest in Writing

How do we spark and then maintain an interest in writing among our students? This is the challenge all teachers of writing face. Here are a few ideas to ignite the writing in your classroom.

I begin by sharing my own writing. This is where you establish credibility as a teacher of writing. My writer’s notebook with its range of text investigations lets students know that I am a writer -just like them!

I engage students in conversations around my writing life.- Sharing how I harvest ideas,  how I notice things and how I solve problems in my writing. Such conversations create a powerful dialogue that aims to demystify writing, making it appear more accessible to the novice writer. I am sharing the powerful message that writing holds something worth pursuing.

I share examples of quality writing (fiction and non fiction) that have caught my eye. It is important for young writers to see what it means to read like a writer. I frequently issue students with an invitation to explore exemplary writing- to examine its features and gain a vision of what might be possible for their own writing.

I celebrate the wonder of words used by authors in innovative and interesting ways and invite students to write in the style of an author they admire. I take time to show them how I also learn from authors I admire.

I am consciously laying a foundation for writing; creating a climate that welcomes the celebration of language. To do this I encourage students to join me, take a risk and dive into the writing life!  I am investing heavily in a range of pre-writing strategies and activities. Writing is so much more than form and structure. If all we look at are the surface features –grammar and punctuation, we are not getting to the heart of writing.

Important Actions That Spark Writing:

·  Encourage students to develop regular lists of potential writing ideas/topics
·  Encourage students to decide how they might best write about a specific idea
·  Introduce artifacts/ephemera into the classroom and show how they can spark memories and ideas
·  Demonstrate the value of inquiry to stimulate writing ideas
·  Draw- maps, characters, storyboards
·  Demonstrate how you write across a range of genres when considering a topic to find what best suits your needs as a writer.
·  Read, read, read and make the reading–writing connections visible.
·  Read about writing and identify writing mentors for yourself. Encourage your students to follow your lead.

·  Make talking about writing an integral part of your writing classroom.


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