Author Rochelle Melander
When I started to write Dream Keepers for young people in Milwaukee, I worked with a group of enthusiastic writers. They are very happy to come to the meeting, practice their craft, and share their work with each other. But when the show moved to the library, some children who showed up were reluctant to write. Here is how we encourage reluctant writers to tell their stories:
5 ways to contact reluctant writers
Those kids who tell great stories will say, “But I can’t write.” I usually invite them to write down the stories they just told me. Let your students practice telling stories to each other. Then teach the story structure-and show them how their story fits into the structure. After telling their stories, it is easy to write them down!
Expert tips: In an impromptu performance, the phrase “yes and” can bring fun and laughter to the sketch. Invite students to play this tool to increase their interest in stories. It’s like, “Yes, what will happen if a zombie appears?”
I have been in professional writing for 20 years, and before I start writing, I still create a mind map. Writing down my thoughts in mind maps, lists or diary entries helps me organize my thoughts. Children who are afraid of blank pages (what if I make a mistake?) usually benefit from prewriting. When the stakes are low—it just writes some ideas on paper—the words are easier to come by.
Play with the format
One of my students hates writing, but likes drawing. He will write vivid stories—outlining the action of the story before adding subtitles. Another student wanted to be a policeman, so I encouraged him to write his story in the form of a police report. Invite students to tell their stories in various forms. I find it helpful to make the tutor text available to them as a template.
Many students prefer art to writing. They don’t want to write a poem, but they think it might be fun to cut out snowflakes, draw a stone, or draw an animal. So they did it-and then added words. Art becomes their way of playing with words. After designing the snowflakes, they wrote poems to celebrate winter. They used a rhyming dictionary and wrote two poems, recorded on the bottom of their rock. you understood.
Put the practice aside for now.
When a student wrote a truly scary ghost story, I gave her specific and positive feedback. We are learning to revise, so I asked, “If you were to revise this, what would you add to the story?” She said, “I can check my spelling.” She was not wrong, but focusing on spelling hindered her story. Other improvements. Provide students with a “no meeting area” during the creative process including modification. This will help them play word games.
Expert tips: It took me a long time to realize that it was a waste of time to modify grammar and spelling prematurely in the process. Usually, I end up cutting sentences that I work hard to polish. Share the writing process with students to explain why the writer keeps the polishing up to the later stage.
it’s your turn: How do you encourage reluctant writers to share their stories?
About Rochelle Melander
Rochelle Melander wrote her first book at the age of seven and published 11 books for adults, including Write-A-Thon: Write your book in 26 days (and live to tell it) and Upgrade: The task of mastering the mindset, overcoming procrastination and increasing productivity. She is a professionally certified coach, artist educator and Dream Keeper, A young man’s writing workshop. Stronger than the sword: rebels, reformers, and revolutionaries who change the world through writing It is her first children’s book. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, children and two dogs.Visit her online writenowcoach.com Either rochellemelander.com.
About being stronger than the sword
Stronger than the sword: rebels, reformers, and revolutionaries who change the world through writing It is a medium-level social justice book that tells the stories of historical and contemporary writers, activists, scientists, and leaders who used their writing to change their lives and the world. These stories are accompanied by writing and creative exercises to help readers discover how they use writing to explore ideas and seek change. The sidebar explores writing types, interesting facts, and more resources.
Readers will explore nature with Rachel Carson, experience the beginning of the Reformation with Martin Luther, defend women’s rights with the truth about sojourners, and so on. These stories will attract and encourage young people to pay attention to their world, respect their own ideas and dreams, and embrace the transformative power of words to bring beauty to the world.