Year: 2008

Handwritten notes: Christmas gifts from the heart

Handwritten notes: Christmas gifts from the heart

One year for Mother's Day, my son Ben wrote me a long, sappy letter dripping with affection and appreciation. I'm sure he figured that if he was sentimental enough, I wouldn't notice that he didn't get me a gift. Know what? He was right! Sometimes, the best present...

Writing tip: Wise feedback makes a difference

Correct and grade wisely. An arbitrary grade based on feelings (”This feels like a B-”) won’t help your student become a better writer. Tip 4: Offer helpful and consistent feedback. Use objective checklists to help you pinpoint specific areas to improve. Value your...

Writing tip: Write often

  Much as we wish it weren’t so, kids don’t learn to write by osmosis. They need your instruction, guidance, and feedback. Tip 3: Make teaching writing a regular part of your school week. With littler ones, this may mean a daily investment of sitting together to...

Writing tip: Process vs. product

  How many times should a student rewrite a composition? Depends on who you ask. If you ask the student, she'll emphatically reply, "Once!" Not only that, she wants you to love that paper, slap a gold star on it, and pronounce it stellar. Should you suggest a...

Writing tip: Set boundaries

Teaching writing is one of the most daunting tasks homeschoolers face. But once you discover how to teach in measurable, objective ways, your confidence will soar. And guess what? When you radiate confidence, your kids pick up on it too! Over the next few days, I'll...

Help reluctant writers describe food, people, and places

Narration is a wonderful tool for coaxing stories, descriptions, and letters from a young writer, especially a more reluctant one. Previously (Tip #1), I talked about using a tape recorder to encourage verbal storytelling. Sometimes, though, a child is still not ready...

Brainstorming with 5- to 8-year-olds

Brainstorming with 5- to 8-year-olds

Brainstorming with young children is often a shared experience, guided by mom or teacher. It helps kids plan and organize before beginning to write.

WriteShop I

Here’s something almost everyone can agree on: writing is one of the most intimidating, scary, overwhelming subjects to teach. You struggle with your own inadequacy of never having been taught to write. Or perhaps you’re an intuitive writer who has no clue how to...

Aaack! I’ve been tagged!

Aaack! I’ve been tagged!

I know this is a writing blog and, for the most part, not a personal blog. But what can I do? I've been TAGGED by my daughter Karah! So if you want to learn a few random things about me, read on! And if you don't, that's cool. Just come back another day to read more...

Make a story pocket

Publish Your Child's Stories  ONE OF the most encouraging and rewarding experiences for a young author is to see her work published. As a second and third grader, I remember how much I loved to find my own little stories and poems published in our school's newsletter....

Inch by inch…it’s a cinch!

When I was little, I loved Benjamin Elkin’s story of The Big Jump, in which a young boy finds a stray dog he hopes to keep. The boy and the pup become fast friends, but unfortunately, in this land only kings are allowed to own dogs. The king, who can spring from the...

6 simple truths about writing with kids

6 simple truths about writing with kids

1. Kids only want to write a paper once. But getting it right the first time is pie-in-the-sky. Perfectionism sets your child up for failure. 2. The writing process is a lot like scrapbooking. Analogies are great teaching tools! Let's say you have a dozen photos to...

Put some fun into editing!

I know a cat that blogs. Really. His name is Humphrey, and he belongs to our dear friend, Nancy Sanders. Nancy, who also happens to be the author of our new WriteShop Primary series, invited Humphrey to be a guest writer on her blog yesterday, where he offers his own...

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