Twenty-Five Ways to Motivate Young Authors
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15. Practice journal writing. Keep a binder with your own responses to writing prompts so that when you're reviewing students' work, they can be reviewing yours with "editors' eyes." Conference with students individually and talk about their writing as well as yours. Do not feel compelled to read every students' work every day.
Write with a motive
16. Set up a mail station so students can write and receive mail in class. Or, ask students to write a letter to a friend or relative so they can get mail in the form of a return letter via the U.S. Post.
17. Take action! Suggest that students write to a politician or the editor of their local newspaper about an issue that concerns them.
18. Participate in a competition. As long as there is appreciation for everyone's best effort and not all attention is placed solely on the winner, a competition can be beneficial.
19. Request that students pick a career they may be interested in as adults. Suggest that they write a letter of introduction to their prospective bosses explaining why they are right for the job. This activity can have a great influence on students if they get feedback from someone in the field in which they are curious.
20. Use creativity as a guide and free form as the structure. Ask students to write from the following menu of choices:
The writing can take a variety of forms:
21. Practice the 3Rs: Read – Read – Read. Focus on the beginning, middle, and end, and if the book is nonfiction, look for the problem and solution. Students' writing will improve when they use published writing as a model and analyze how other authors write.
22. Develop an advertisement of a favorite book. The ad must capture the essence of the book without giving away the plot or main finding and build suspense to generate interest in the text. Look on the back cover of your popular books for ways to begin thinking about how other people have enticed readers.
23. Draw first, then write. Sometimes it is easier to write from a visual image that the author has created than it is to begin with a blank page.
24. Relive someone else's story. After exchanging stories with a classmate, recreate the other person's story on paper. This can be a made-up event, a futuristic occurrence, an autobiography, or a true story about some excursion, event, or person.
25. Rewrite the lyrics to your favorite song. Approach the music from someone else's perspective or another emotion.
Regardless of what writing activities are pursued, it is imperative that the experience be personally relevant to students. Even with motivating topics and activities, producing good writing is difficult. Paving the way by providing appropriate opportunities, environments, and materials for students will go a long way in fostering good writing.