Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Encouraging the Writer Within

My five-year-old LOVES to write stories. Always has! Even at a young age he would dictate his made-up tales. Once he hit Kindergarten he started to write for himself. His love of drawing has given him dreams of being a author and illustrator. In school he would write daily during Writer's Workshop, but I have pulled him out of school early due to the move. In the craziness, I have been slow to supplement his education at home-mainly because we don't have any of our belongings. Yesterday his Draw & Write Journal from Lakeshore Learning arrived (only $3.50) and he was so excited to get writing again. However, when he sat down to write he had writer's block-he had been out of practice. Here are some things I did to help encourage his writer within...

After "A" doodled in his books we talked about what stories may be needed to be told. Here are some of the pages:
Aren't these just begging to have stories written about them? I know I want to know more about the haunted mine and the incredible flying machine-don't you?
All writers should also create a heart map. "A" made on the backside of the title page right in his Draw & Write Journal. Some choose to section of the map into different coordinates and add color, but he didn't want that. Ideas to put in your heart map: people who you hold close in your heart, dreams & desires, special memories, secrets, passions you have, etc. Some of the things in his heart map include memories of going on a cruise and the state fair, his family, a cross of God, dreaming of becoming a scientist, an easel for art, things-that-go (a passion of his), and more. 
I also picked up a Spelling Reference Guide at his old school before we moved. His old school district used these for grades K-2nd. You could certainly make one of your own though. You put high frequency words in order like a dictionary. In the back they also have sections like Days of the Week, People, Places, Months, Colors, and Numbers. In each section there are lines for you to add words. For example, in the People section you would write the name of siblings and/or pets, in Places you would write your city and state or a favorite vacation spot, As you can see on the D page I added dinosaur for him. At this age I want to encourage him to phonetically sound out his words but also use a dictionary. It is about balance!
By the time we were done with the heart map he had ideas flying. He chose to write about a secret location he found with his dad at our new place (a secret on his heart map). He quietly wrote for about 30 mins about gold and treasure chests and more. This is probably the longest story he has written entirely himself (and that includes stories he has written in school). I am excited for some writing time set aside each day!


  1. A doodle book! What an amazing idea! I had no idea something like that even existed. I love that your son is a natural with drawing and writing. While my son doesn't have that same passion, like you I want to find ways to encourage him to practice both. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  2. Ooooh that Doodle Book looks like so much fun! I can already tell from the examples in your pictures that this is something my boys would LOVE! Definitely going to purchase one for them! Thanks so much for sharing these great ideas!