Jump to content

Menu

How to guide a natural writer


Recommended Posts


I am new here on the forums and starting my first year homeschooling.   I gave my 8yo daughter a writing lesson yesterday asking her to rewrite the following sentence to make it more descriptive using 5-6 sentences:  


 


It was a nice fall day in the forest.


 


When I came back to check on her 15 minutes later, this was her response with no editing on my part:


 


    It was a beautiful, quiet morning in the edge of the forest, and the trees were decorated in yellows, reds, oranges, and browns.  Leaves scattered across the forest floor and you could hear the bugs and creatures tip-toeing out of there (sic) burrows to find food.  It wasn't really warm, in about the 60s because it was fall, but the creatures weren't bothered at all.  The forest was just waking up, and the animals had a little light because if you looked just beyond the beautiful tops of the trees, you could see the bright, fall sun dawning.  If you traveled past this part of the woods, you could find the stream, flowing down the piled rocks that had been tossed around for billions and trillions of years.  I guess you could call it a waterfall.  It made an elegant noise that never stopped as long as there was water to travel.  No matter how loud you yelled, it would just keep doing its habit.   And past the creek there was a noisy section of the woods.  This particular part woke up right away and started hustling and bustling about.  All the creatures here were noisy and energetic and raced each other to get all the food for hibernation.  This section had more trees and was a little damper and smaller also.  But it had more things to discover, explore and do.  


 


This was the first assignment I have given her.  I knew she was a gifted writer, but I was surprised by how easily and quickly this came to her.  I have just started reading the Writer's Jungle, but I feel helpless about how to structure a program for her.  Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your daughter's writing is lovely!  

 

My humble suggestion is to NOT have a structured writing program at all.  Seriously.   In my experience with two natural writers it just wasn't necessary, and I graduated both without ever having used one.  

 

Their writing skills didn't develop in a complete and total vacuum, though.  They were surrounded by lots good literature and a fair amount of "twaddle", too.  We played word games and worked on grammar.  We talked about all that we read and did, exchanging opinions and ideas.  Those discussions helped them learn how to formulate and defend their ideas, which, combined with a study of formal logic, made it easier for them to learn to craft good persuasive essays.  

 

Their only assigned writing in the early years was for penmanship.  They copied poems or sentences from favorite books or they did boring handwriting workbooks.  They wrote for fun in the early years, sometimes writing stories, sometimes writing neighborhood newspapers.  Sometimes I would find some creative writing prompts and suggest those as an activity, and they'd be off writing away.  I didn't assign written narrations til they were late elementary to middle school and essays came rather easily by 8th/9th grade. 

 

I would supply your dd with a journal and fun pens, color pencils and markers, and find some writing prompts like the one you had above.  Let her choose the prompt, or copy a favorite section of a book or write whatever she feels like.  Keep it fun and creative, and don't worry about editing it or fixing it or working to improve it.  She will improve with time.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely agree with JennW, I'm an author, and started writing stories at around 6 (and never stopped), and I was never given any formal writing instruction other than the typical "Write about what you did on your summer vacation" kind of thing. I think 8 was when my writing started to explode and I found the joy in just free creation, exploring the sounds and melody of language, early play with metaphor, etc.

 

I think the most important thing you can do with a natural writer is to read to them...Not just letting her read on her own, but reading a ton to her so she can close her eyes and hear the music of words, really focus on the imagery, etc., do it with all kinds of writing, including poetry. And just continue to encourage it...I think trying to teach the "how" of writing, and assigning writing tasks, has the risk of taking the joy out of it, which also takes the soul out of it. (Although for fun you could have her read a story with, say, personification/symbolism/POV of an animal or whatever, and suggesting she write a story with that element, letting her play with the concepts.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, just don't. Let her write. Let her know how much you enjoy reading it. When she gets older, show her how to go about research type papers. But mainly, just let her be. (And do not sign her up for an online writing class, because she will likely scare the instructor who will then make her never want to write again...Had to learn that one the hard way.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your responses!  I truly appreciate it.  My instincts were telling me to relax and follow her lead, but I was scared that I wouldn't be guiding her in the right direction.  The Bravewriter approach seems very similar to everything mentioned above with poetry, read-alouds, quality literature, etc.  I guess I will sit back and let her continue to delight in reading and writing.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

Blogging may be something she'd enjoy as well. You can set a blog to private, so that only people you give the direct link to have it. I'd say that DD has about 6 people, total, following her blog, most of whom are biologically related to her, but it still gives her a thrill to "publish" something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a natural writer - things my mom did with me: daily grams, writing strands, a free journal (she never checked it but I had to write daily), and a really advanced vocabulary program (don't remember the name of it). When I got to highschool, my dad, who was a really good writer, tore my papers apart. I mean line by line, red ink everywhere. I hated it at first. Then moved to a point where I couldn't turn in a paper without him tearing it apart (I even sent him college papers to help me proof) and then I got to where I could do it myself - and ironically, the editing came full circle last year when my dad asked me to edit a book he wrote before he sent it to the publisher.

 

I also just have to say I really loved reading your daughter's writing sample! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As has been said, I'd leave her to her writing which she obviously enjoys and is clearly a natural writer.  If her penmanship is good, I would give her a laptop to use and teach her how to type.  At that age, it's hard for them to write as quickly as the thoughts flow.   Typing is very freeing.   No one should go anywhere near writing like that with a red pen!  Keep her stocked with journals, lined and blank, and lots of fun pens.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a lovely description! Yes, you have a natural, talented writer on your hands.

 

My dd9 loves to write too, all she asks for is new journals and pens. I got her two journals in the past few weeks and at the bookstore all she looks at is the journal section. She sits at her computer in front of Word and works on her stories for a few hours a day. There is a way to sync up MS Word to a wordpress blog, I should ask if she'd like to publish her stories again for people to read.

 

We don't worry about a writing program.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...