Beginning writers

Slice of Life logoThey are all beginners and there are so many things they do not know or have words for but they are all writers. Yesterday I had the delight to sit in the back of a classroom watching a third year teacher work with her third grade students on writing. I was checking in books that had been donated to this high poverty classroom and it gave me space to just listen and watch.

This group of students sat eagerly with red writing notebooks and pencils. They were working together to explore “what do writers write?”.  The teacher had lots of samples of things people can write (ads in papers, copy on a Mac and Cheese box, comics, magazines) pushing her students to think well beyond the comment of “they write books”.

They then talked about “why they write” – to help people learn, to give directions, to make you want to buy things, to tell a story, to help you learn.

Yes – these early writers knew at some level that stories help them learn.They knew that they can learn from their own writing. They quickly came to the idea that writers write about things they care about, things that are important to share with others.

They were off and writing lists of things they cared about ( their heart list). This is a list that they can write from in the future.

  • They did not say I can’t write,
  • Their pencils were moving quickly
  • They did struggle with spelling
  • They did jumped in to help each other spell words
  • They shared ideas with each other
  • They didn’t want to stop when it was time to go

If you asked them if they were writers they would all tell me “No! – I can’t write” but there they were all doing what writers do – putting their pencil to paper and writing.

Fun in third grade! Good Job Teacher – creating another group of great writers!


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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8 Responses to Beginning writers

  1. Terje says:

    I love reading stories where the focus is on the positive. Celebrating these young writers together with you.

  2. Lisa Keeler says:

    What a wonderful beginning. How lucky for you to be able to watch it all unfold.

  3. Sara Renae says:

    It’s sad that our young children do not believe themselves to be writers; but equally hopeful that they have people like you and their teacher in their lives to tell them otherwise 🙂

  4. Ramona says:

    How fun that these 3rd graders caught the vision and went right to work!

  5. arjeha says:

    It is heart warming when someone who says they are not a writer learns that they truly are a writer. Great post.

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