For those who may not know, writing is my thang.
I love to write, love to help writers, and I’ve been a writing instructor for more than seven years.
So you’re going to hear me blab a lot about writing on this blog.
Today is a quick tutorial to offer some tips about how to teach writing at various grade levels.
Preschool: Let them play. Really. They are building life experiences so they have something to write about in the future. Read great books together. Create stories together (that you write for them). Enjoy life.
Early elementary: Keep it light and simple, with a heavy emphasis on narration and dictation. Most of these kids don’t have a handle on reading yet and asking them to physically write things can be asking too much.
It’s sort of like this scenario: You’re driving for the first time and trying to assimilate all the information bombarding your senses from every direction while still maintaining physical control of the car. But you’ve also got an instructor in the car teaching you Chinese. Overload! That’s what you don’t want to do to your student.
Upper elementary: Sentences, paragraphs, short stories and reports- begin the process of formal writing. But bear in mind that at this age they are still very much children- with short attention spans and boundless energy. Be creative and keep writing fun or you’ll quickly develop a resistant student.
Use this time to build a strong foundation in writing. Make sure they know how to write in complete sentences (a skill lacking among writers of all ages these days) and require punctuation and capitalization. Work on forming strong paragraphs with accurate topic sentences. Stick to the basics and it will pay off later.
Middle school: This is my most favorite age to teach. They are old enough to grasp some harder concepts, but young enough to still have fun. Build on the skills learned in the upper elementary grades and add in essays and some longer writing projects. Tap into the wealth of ideas and life experiences these kids have stored up inside.
High school: High school students are like old people- set in their ways. They know everything and have an opinion about everything. And they loathe busy work! Use that to your advantage by giving meaningful assignments that allow them to express themselves or argue a point.
By the end of high school they need to be proficient in writing essays, reports, and at least familiar with writing a research paper.
Obviously, this is a generic list so adapt it to your student and your situation.
Image by ZaCky on Flickr