Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Talking to Kids About Writing

photo from
I need advice.

Today my daughter's teacher asked me to visit with her class (of 7- and 8-year-olds) about being a writer, and writing. I am thrilled!

But all I know so far is that I'll gift each kid with a mini composition notebook and a pencil (camo for boys, polka dots for the girls).

The kids know me, I've helped at parties, so there won't be a formal need for introduction. I'll feel most comfortable pulling up a piece of
floor with them, so there's that. I won't have to dress up. I may even go without make-up.

But talking literary terms and explaining my genre or giving them my resume is out.

What do I say? What do I ask? What do I tell them about myself? How do I show my passion, and encourage them with a love for words and story?

I know many of you have experience with this kind of thing, and I'm looking for guidance.

What are your pointers?


Maggie said...

I have a daughter in this age group and I did a similar thing at her school. I was nervous but was surprised that if I said about one sentence they would all have their hands in the air with questions.

They will help you out.

Have a loose mental outline and encourage questions and you'll be golden.

Angela Hood-Ross said...

Such a wonderful opportunity. Have fun and let whatever happens happen. They'll be curious just because of their age. I would suggest practicing on your little one. Good luck and have fun. If they see your excitement about writing, they are sure to be excited as well.

The Happy Whisk said...

How about writing a group short story together? Something fun. Something to get them all involved and see how fun writing an adventure can be.

Whatever you decide to do, have FUN. I look forward to hearing about your adventure. Best to you.

Marian Perera said...

I like The Happy Whisk's idea.

When I worked in a school library, the librarian once asked me to give a talk on fantasy to the younger children. Thankfully I had some fantasy art books, so I was able to show them plenty of pictures. An all-talk talk probably wouldn't have held their attention too long.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

My daughter's teacher has asked me to do this, but I just can't go there yet. I want to. I will. But not quite yet.

I'm excited for you. I did teach a class over the summer to five kids about creative writing. I loved it.
~ Wendy

Katie Ganshert said...

Ooo! I'd love to do that for my son's class someday!!

I'm a teacher, so I'm ALWAYS talking to my students about writing.

For 7 and 8 year olds...hmmmm....

You could do a brainstorming session. Maybe talk about how one of the hardest parts of writing is coming up with ideas. You could hand out the composition books and pencils and put them in groups to brainstorm story ideas. They could share them and then you could do a Question and Answer time??

OR - you could do an activity I do with my students every year. It's called Somebody Wanted But So. I have the sheet you use for it so I could email that to you. But basically, you come up with a class story idea and the kids always get really excited.

Whatever you do, have fun!!! And let us know how it goes. :)

Cassandra Frear said...

Wow. I homeschooled my own and I taught seminars and led co-op groups, but I'm not quite sure how I would handle this one. You don't really want to turn it into a writing seminar.

We used to make stories up with Lego characters and then write them down. My kids loved it. We also did an exercise where each kid gets to write the next sentence of a story. We'd take turns until the story was done. But of course, there had to be some ground rules.

Diane said...

Just showing them your enthusiasm and excitement will say more than all your words could. They need to be inspired to believe. :O)

Kelly H-Y said...

One of the things I've done that has worked with that age group is talk about idea-generation. I've brought pictures that are clues to something that sparked an idea for an actual story I've written, and they start to realize that ideas can come from pretty much anything and anywhere!

Janna Leadbetter said...

You all have given me some great ideas. Thank you!

Melissa Amateis said...

I did this once for a group of kids...and truth be told, I didn't have anything at all planned. I just started talking about how I came up with stories and their questions did the rest. Have fun!

Karen Lange said...

No matter what their age, I encourage kids that everyone has things to share, and that everyone has a story. I also tell them that they CAN write. Too many of them think they can't b/c it's hard or they don't like it or they get an assignment back that only points out their mistakes. I think they need to know the positive side before they can really blossom.
Let us know how you make out, okay?
P.S. I have books and lesson plans with activity and prompt ideas for kids of all ages if you think you might get that far. Email me at karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com if you want.

Unspoken said...

Children are the most wonderful story tellers. They are unhindered by reality and fantasy and the lines between. I would love to leave them with a prompt! Tell them you will choose your favorite response in a week or something. Give a little prize.

Duane Scott said...

I don't know.

I'm not a smart writer.

And now I'm wishing I could come to school with you.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Kids are very visual. When I taught Sunday School, I used as many props as I could find to illustrate a story.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

I love all these ideas!!

Deb Shucka said...

Sorry I missed this. I would have had lots to say, although I'm sure you were great. Kids love hearing from adults who are not their teachers, especially this time of year. How did it go?

Terri Tiffany said...

I am so glad to read on FB that it went well!!

AlyssaJacobs said...


My name is Alyssa Jacobs. I have been reading through your blog and I am finding it very interesting. I love to write and I think I could make a great contribution to your page. If this is something that you would be interested in, then shoot me a quick email when you get a chance.

Kind regards,
Alyssa Jacobs