Mindful Actions to Engage Inexperienced Writers

How is interest in writing sparked and then maintained for our students? This is the enduring challenge all teachers of writing face. Here are a few ideas to ignite a desire to write in your classroom.

For teachers of writing it begins with mindfully sharing your own writing. This is where credibility as a teacher of writing is established. A writer’s notebook with a range of text investigations lets students know that you too see yourself as a writer -just like your impressionable young learners!



Try engaging students in conversations around your own writing life.- Sharing how you harvest ideas,  how you notice things and how you work to solve problems in your writing. Do not underestimate the power of sharing your writing process with the inexperienced writer. They can draw much in the way of inspiration and potential action from what you put on display. 

Such conversations create a powerful dialogue that goes quite some way in demystifying writing, making it suddenly appear more accessible to the novice writer. You are sharing the powerful message that writing holds something worth pursuing.

Alan j Wright's Writer's Notebook 


Share examples of quality writing (fiction and non fiction) that have caught your eye. It is important for young writers to see what it means to read like a writer and think and act like a writer. Frequently issue students with invitations to explore exemplary writing- to examine its features and gain a vision of what might be possible for their own writing. -What are you seeing that is like what you are trying to write?

Celebrate the wonder of words used by trusted authors writing in innovative and interesting ways. Invite students to write in the style of an author they admire. Allow them to write under the influence of mentors. Take time in your teaching to show them how you  learn from authors you admire.



Consciously lay a foundation for writing; creating a climate that welcomes the celebration of language. Encourage students to join you, take a risk and dive into the writing life!  

Let it be apparent you are heavily investing in a range of pre-writing strategies and activities. Allow them to see how a more experienced writer prepares to write with confidence and some measure of authority over the task. Allow them to see the think before ink part of the process.

Writing is so much more than form and structure. If all we ever look at are the surface features –grammar and punctuation, we are not going to reach 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 student writers to follow your lead.
·  Make talking about writing an integral part of your writing classroom.

©Alan j Wright

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