When I taught in the junior high and high school classroom I had (and still have) a three-ring binder full of short reads (poems, quotes, cartoons, facts, questions, etc.) that might inspire a writer to write for a minimum of five minutes. It was a warm-up activity where the goal was to get the brain rolling in the direction of reading and thinking. I used this time to introduce an element of style, to teach them to connect the text to their own life, to something they read previously, to something they already knew, to help them visualize and describe, etc. There were a lot of brief, yet intentionally focused activities that I incorporated during this time to help a reader respond in a variety of ways.
This was an important start to our day! Why?
Because writing is an important factor in developing a literacy-based education! It boosts memory, encourages analytical thinking and discussions, and inspires. You cannot undervalue writing and how it's directly related to reading. You simply cannot do one well without the other.
"If you want to be a better writer you must do two things above all else: read a lot and write a lot." - Stephen King
I know you've seen a lot of him recently in my blog, but I'm currently reading his memoir on writing, which I highly recommend. I do not read his books because I'm not a big fan of horror, but I do pay attention to people who have been successful in this business. If I'm going to teach writing, I'm going to learn as much as I can about this subject from the masters of the craft! Learning from successful authors is a great place to start! And he has a lot to say about how reading affected his writing.
Back to R&R and how I'm implementing it in our homeschool classroom:
One thing that keeps coming up in Stephen King's Memoir of the Craft is how his personal experiences shaped how he writes. It's impossible to separate, even for a five-year-old, what we've experienced and what we know from our writing. Which is an important aspect to consider when teaching how to write. Think about what you know, then write about it! If you don't know much about the topic - read more to learn more - then write about it!
Knowing these facts help me incorporate many of the same tactics during homeschooling and I'll share (for free) one way we will be doing that this week! I am introducing different elements of style to my second grader, the first being acrostic poetry. Every day we will discuss what acrostic means, we will write one together, and she will write one on her own. She will see many acrostic poems in print and we will be reading each of them. Here is one example of what we will be doing as she learns this element of style.
I added directions for you to follow if this is something you want to do with your little reader and writer as well: R&R.
I tutor readers and writers of all ages, at any ability. I've tutored a nurse wanting to improve her GRE writing score (goal met) and a high school student struggling with spelling, with very little writing skills. If you, or someone you know, wants to go into writing as a career, contact me! If you, or someone you know, struggles writing, contact me! If you or someone you know needs to be challenged more than they are currently, or needs help with their writing homework, contact me! I provide personalized tutoring plans that meet your specific and unique needs. Contact me to set up a FREE consultation.