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Creative Writing E-Book

 

   Motivating some children to do creative writing assignments is like motivating them to clean their room. Exasperating!  Now there is a strategy called integrative thematic writing that can be helpful in the classroom or at the homeschooling kitchen table.  Below are excerpts from a free ebook that can help light a spark under the most reluctant young writer.

    The typical first step toward writing is the prewriting stage in which the writer is given a topic and begins to formulate prior knowledge or imaginative ideas to determine what he might write about. Teachers have felt the need to assign topics or provide writing prompts because children appear to struggle even more when left to select their own topic.  This method is effective with right brained, verbally acute children.  Unfortunately, many children lack background knowledge or experience on the topic and have no interest in another “boring writing experience.” Often teachers end up with a story or report that resembles the last TV show the child watched or a jumble of unfocused ideas loosely linked together.

   I became aware of these problematic issues as a teacher and as a parent watching my children struggle with writing assignments.  It was in that same time frame, more than 20 years ago, when our family began writing creative Christmas letters. I noticed that their participation in writing the family Christmas letter elicited enthusiasm and satisfaction.  I have since labeled that process integrative thematic writing.

   The first step in writing a creative Christmas letter is to gather the family together to generate a list of each person’s accomplishments, events, travels, changes, activities and humorous situations.  These were topics in which the children were intensively interested and, of course, had much knowledge.

   Step two is to select a theme with which to integrate the family topics. Themes come in three general categories.  The first is “lists” such as a list of blessings or lessons learned. More complex is the list of  top10 best selling books in which each “book” is a paragraph about a certain family event or activity. Each “book” is given a catchy title and a cutesy author name such as: House Breaking Your New Puppy by Willy Gough.  A second category mimics various formats such as a diary, letters to Santa, a game board or a crossword puzzle.  The third type is written from the perspective of someone or something else, like the baby, dog or guardian angel. The result of integrating a theme was a letter that was informative and amusing at the same time.  Best of all, it was fun for the kids to help in writing. 

   Similar steps are essential when motivating children to write assignments as well.

      1.  Provide interactive skill training.

      2.  Allow for choices in topic selection and for increasing the knowledge base.

      3.  Brainstorm themes that could be integrated with the topic.

      4.  Accept verbal interaction during the writing process.

      5.  Provide positive feedback while helping to edit for a final product.

   Some topics lend themselves readily to some simple brainstorming by children. (Caution to parents:  Don’t be too quick to identify theme ideas but rather nudge the children in various directions.)  Perhaps some children are interested in the Pony Express, and have learned all about the history, mechanics and the trials and tribulations of the riders.  They could brainstorm as a group what themes would be fitting for the topic.  One child may want to use persuasive writing with a “list” approach.  He could develop a poster that might have been used to recruit Pony Express riders and station keepers.  In addition, he might write a letter to a young man from his family persuading him not to join the Pony Express. Using the “format” concept, a student could write a narrative with a diary theme to record what he sees, hears, feels and experiences on the trail from day to day.  A “perspective” piece could be written from the viewpoint of the Indians and could be more descriptive of the history and impact of the Pony Express.

    More information on this topic, is available in the free ebook, Ideas for Creating Writing Assignments That Kids Are Actually Eager to Write.  You will receive the e-book as a free instant download when you purchase Ideas for Writing Creative Christmas Letters That People Are Actually Eager to Read!  This offer is only valid when purchasing the book through this website.