Showing posts from November, 2010

Writing Irresistible LEADS with Grade One Students

I have been reading Australian author, Kate Grenville’s book, ‘The Writing Book – A Practical Guide For Fiction Writers.’ Grenville writes about leads and reminds us that the beginning of a piece of writing needs to be irresistible. Further to this she reminds the reader that it doesn’t matter where you begin a piece of writing- just begin! Grenville quotes Ezra Pound who said, ‘It doesn’t matter which leg of the table you make first as long as it stands up in the end.’
The writer’s aim is to glue the reader to the page. Grenville also makes the observation that sometimes you need to write the whole story before returning to the start in order to write a great beginning or ‘lead’ for it.
Recently I have been working with groups of Grade 1 writers alerting them to the various ways in which writers ‘lead’ the reader deeper into their stories. Initially we looked at their own writing samples and I asked students, what did they notice about the words being used in their story leads?
The dis…

Providing Time For Respectfully Publishing Student Writing


A young teacher approached me during a break in my presentation about Writer's Notebooks yesterday to ask, What about publishing? She was projecting ahead and it set me to thinking more deeply about this important issue. Young writers need to experience every phase of the writing process and yet it is publishing that frequently gets squeezed or curtailed. Either that, or it gets the 'fast food' treatment and every child's published work looks alarmingly the same. Publishing and the student writer are short changed.

With so much emphasis on gathering entries in the Writer’s Notebook there is a further danger it will begin to establish itself as the primary focus for writing both in the minds of teachers and students. 

It would therefore be easy to lose sight of the purpose of the Writer’s Notebook. The Notebook’s primary function is to provide a place for writing to begin. The notebook is to the writer, what the sketchbook is to the artist.