Creative Writing Workshops Teach Children How To Write Stories. But Is That Enough?
Writing as a skill needs practice and time to develop.
Learning to observe writing approaches while reading
Reading outside of school is important not just for enhancing reading comprehension activities but also to get an idea of writing approaches that sound appealing. Just as readers, we all have different preferences, we have our own writing styles too. Every child's writing style takes time to take shape. It is their unique voice which emerges only after writing freely for extended periods of time. There needs to be ample time for experimentation. There is no short cut.
Every child's writing style takes time to take shape.
Getting your child's writing published as a goal
While this seems like a nice short term goal, it does little in enabling a student to keep building their written communication skills. Once the writing is published, the tendency is often to give up on writing regularly. Writing is a skill that everyone of us use in a variety of ways in our professional as well as personal lives. Writing to communicate a message at a later point of time, requires a consideration of the target audience, the reader in particular for whom a text has been written. Be it a story, a small thank you note, an email or any other form of writing, it is about conveying an intended message.
Writing to communicate a message at a later point of time, requires a consideration of the target audience, the reader in particular for whom a text has been written.
The importance of detailed feedback
Short term workshops that have a deadline to finish. It is true of schools too where there is a pressing need to finish the set syllabus, leaving little time for feedback and revising one's first draft.
Writing is a process and not a one step activity. Unfortunately when it comes to children writing, the stakes tend to be high. They are often expected to deliver on their first drafts, especially so in the exams. Experienced writers write several drafts before getting published. So why is it different for children?
Teaching children to play two roles- the person who writes and the person who reads one's own writing
The golden rule in writing circles is to leave a time gap after writing and revisiting one's writing to read. The purpose is simple. It is to see one's own writing from a reader's perspective and check if the written text is making sense. Children need help to understand the need for this step. Over time it becomes a habit and it helps them write better.
Encouraging children to maintain a writer's book
A writer's book allows free expression in the form of writing. It needn't be a story all the time. It could be even random thoughts, things a child wonders about, something nice that happened in school, a drawing even or perhaps a original riddle. It can be anything as along as it is the child's idea. There is no word limit. No room for judgement.
The Power of Collaboration
We were sharing what everyone of us had written in our writers' books one evening at the Young Readers' Club. One of the readers chose to write a short story in response to the above picture. Another had chosen to write about a science fact that fascinated him. While he listened to his friend read out his story, he asked for time to write a story as well. Something about his friend's story set his imagination run and he wrote a story. He read it out to the group. His peers enjoyed listening to two different stories based on the same picture. Soon after, the two readers shared how they arrived at their respective ideas and how the final story took shape. One of them had portrayed the boy in the picture as someone who loved gazing at stars and was hoping to do the same even during the day. The other spoke about the boy having fallen into the wagon by accident and ended up being there as what he saw up in the sky held his attention for a long time to come. They enjoyed writing the story. There were no strings attached. No grades or public glare. Just fun writing and sharing with friends. It is true that when this concept was introduced, there was resistance to writing in general. But over time, the readers realised that writing can actually be fun. They could experiment in multiple ways and even challenge themselves in their own terms.
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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 12-14 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.
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