How to Prod Hesitant Writers

Sometimes in first grade the goal of Writing Workshop is to just get the kids to write. Never mind the great stories that we teachers know lie inside their intriguing little minds, never mind the endless tales and stories they tell you while on duty at recess, if you can’t get them to write them down, you have no story, no books to be made, no text to share or publish.
It seems that every year I have at least one of these hesitant writers.
I call them hesitant because they are not unwilling or unable to write, they just are not yet willing to take that scary plunge into authorship.  
So what to do? How do we take them from frozen statues at their desks to enthusiastic writers?
We prod ever so slightly, we model, and we encourage. We make a big deal at of the smallest of details, and we wait, because we know if we are patient enough and encouraging enough then one grand day they will write!
This year I have a young boy that was ever so hesitant. Each day he would leave the group knowing what he wanted to write, but each day I’d watch him sit.
“Go ahead” I’d prod, “you can do it!”
“It’s a great idea write it down!” He’d grin. And he’d sit.
Finally on the third day I motioned for him to come and talk to me. “Do you know what you want to write?” “Yes,” he asserted. “Then why aren’t you writing?” I asked. A glare.
“Can you tell me what you want to write on this page?”
“Yes!” Ok tell me what you want to write just on this one page.
I grab pen and a sticky poised to write. He tells me a great starter to a story about a bird that wants to drive a semi (sound familiar?). “Ok now you go write this on you first page, sound good” Grins all around and he’s off.
The next few days we do the same. One page at a time.
A week later I see him writing and ask if he is ready to conference with his semi story.
Oh no he tells me I’m writing another story about a super hero! Score!
Ok I grin I can hardly wait to read them both, and he writes on.
Writing his thoughts on a sticky note and then sending him off to write gave him encouragement, ownership, and the power to feel successful.
The next time you have a hesitant young writer (or older) try breaking it into small chunks and prodding with a sticky note and encouragement.

It can change that daunting large sheet of blank paper into a doable page of a great story.          

1 comment:

  1. Your post-its and encouragement were obviously just what he needed. Thank you for sharing your success story. It gives the rest of us hope and ideas for how to do the same in our rooms. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First