Writing is a life skill that improves with practice. Students begin learning to write in kindergarten and continue throughout their education. Learning basic writing skills in elementary school is key to building upon those skills in high school and college. Many elementary schools offer best practices by using school-wide writing activities that enable students to effectively learn to write and communicate ideas throughout their education.
Story starters are writing prompts that get students' creative juices flowing. They direct and elicit students to write about a specific topic. Using a writing prompt that excites or inspires a student encourages creativity and a desire to write. Learning to analyze a writing prompt is crucial to a student's ability to understand and successfully write an essay response. Students can ask themselves questions about the prompt that will help them examine it, develop an outline and formulate a thesis. For example, if the story starter prompts students to write about the perfect vacation, the student might consider the question "What types of details does the story suggest?"
Journal writing is one of the most important writing activities for self-expression. It is an essential building block for future success that gives students a chance to reflect upon experiences and express themselves. Children learn to transfer their thoughts and feelings to paper while learning the value of writing. To accomplish this, children should find a comfortable spot, write at least once a week using various writing tools and be given control over what they create. Journaling opens up a world of creativity for children, allowing them to explore new concepts. Keeping a private journal at home enables children to express themselves without criticism or fear.
The Writing Process
The writing process is a series of steps followed to produce a piece of writing. The process helps to eliminate writer's block through prewriting exercises and build upon the piece through drafting, revising and editing several times before publishing the final piece. Step-by-step construction allows teachers to give feedback during each stage of the process, which helps students master the art of writing. Learning the writing process is crucial because it is a skill students will use far beyond the classroom.
Fun Writing Tips
Many students feel learning to write is a boring process, but engaging them in unique and fun writing activities encourages students to be creative and explore writing with interest. Because children are imaginative and curious, their participation in fun writing activities gives them a jump start to writing. Fun activities such as writing games or talking about fun experiences will keep them interested and motivated. For example, one child writes a sentence and then other students add a sentence and build the story until it is too funny or bizarre to continue or until the story is complete.
- Time4Writing: Understanding Writing Prompts
- Scholastic: Unit Plan: Journal Writing from a Graphic Timeline
- The Writing Process: The Steps to Writing Success
- The Yellin Center: Improving Elementary School Student's Writing
- Time4Writing, Writing Can Be Fun: Tips to Enhance Your Child's Desire to Write
Based in Virginia, Susan Harlow is an adjunct English professor and writing resource coordinator. She specializes in education and technical communication. She holds a Master of Arts in English with a concentration in literacy, technology and professional writing from Northern Arizona University.