Sometime teaching writing doesn’t have to be hard! Here is a simple technique you can try tomorrow. Often children tell stories and then we encourage them to write those stories during Writing Workshop. These stories, I am told, are often ‘summaries’ filled with many ‘and thens’.
It’s not surprising.
They probably wrote the stories the way that they told them. If we want to improve the quality of writing, we have to start by having them tell these stories in a different way. I have found that turning the blank pages of a booklet while they tell the story reminds kids to write their stories as pieces of literature, very much like the picture books that they read.
For example, last year I was working with a second grade student. When she told her story without the blank booklet, she said, “One day my grandma made franks and beans for lunch. I don’t like franks and beans. When I picked up the blank booklet and turned the pages as she told her story she said, One day my grandma made franks and beans for lunch. “I don’t like franks and beans.” I told my grandma. My grandma said, “Sit your butt down girl and eat those franks and beans.” I did and you know what? They were pretty good.
The blank booklet helped her to tell her story with more detail, which then helped her to write her story with more detail.
I would love to hear in the comments below how this technique helps your students. Feel free, as always, to shoot me an email or contact me for a free 15 minute consultation: