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Christie Kimm

Mrs. Gonzalez

EDRE 4860- 501

December 4, 2017

Multigenre Essay

Before I began my study, I noticed that many of my first grade students struggled with

what to write about during writers workshop. They would often sit there, staring into the abyss,

and would end up with nothing but blank pages when time was up. This is when I decided on

what I wanted to research. Learning to write can be a challenging skill to learn because it is as

unique as each individual child. I needed to find different strategies to help students overcome

the daunting task of writing because this is a skill they will use in their everyday life. This leads

me to my focus of research of how I could help motivate young children to write and what to

write about.

One strategy that I found to be useful is the first step of the writing process, pre-writing.

Young writers, especially, struggling writers, are often discouraged about the quality of their

writing before they even put anything on paper. This attitude keeps them from the fluid, almost

unconscious act of putting words on paper that is so important to many writing tasks. Writers

often write to find out what they think, not just to demonstrate what they know. One aspect of

pre-writing I especially like is free-writing. Because free-writing requires that students write

without monitoring their thoughts, without doubting themselves, they are free to explore words,

phrases, and ideas that they might never access in a more constrained context (Berne). Free-

writing is a great way to allow students to put pencil to paper and write about anything that
comes to mind. This practice will only encourage and motivate young children that they can

write and that they can excel as writers.

One of the most popular strategies that many professionals in the field believe is the best

way to motivate writers is allowing students to choose their own topic. When students have the

opportunity to select their topic, they are able to think creatively and write about something they

are passionate about. But what happens when students cant think of anything to write about?

Gallipoli provides teachers a list of prompts and topics for students to choose from. She suggests

to introduce it as a resource they can use if they cant come up with a writing topic during

journal time or at a writing center. One other strategy that students can use to reference back to

when they need a topic to choose from is a heart map. This resource allows students to think

creatively about their writing by including visual images with words. It is a blank heart shaped

paper that students can fill up with things they are passionate about, such as family, friends,

places, and even food. This can be created at the beginning of the school year so that they are

able to use this resource whenever they are struggling to come up with something to write about.

Another way for teachers to motivate students is have them write personal narratives. In

chapter five of Teaching Writing by Tompkins, she discusses the use and advantages of students

writing personal narratives. Personal writing is usually informal and intended for the writer or a

small, trusted audience (Tompkins, p.108). With the use of personal writing, students have the

opportunity to practice writing without pressure of failure. This is also a great way for students to

practice using voice and word choice. As they write, students shape their thinking and

personalize their learning (Tompkins, p.108). When we make writing meaningful for students,

they can express themselves about topic that are important to them (Serra). When students
have the opportunity to write about something that is important to them, they will be more

motivated to write.

Lastly, one way we as teachers can help motivate students to write is through praise. It is

essential for us, not only as their teacher but as someone our students look up to, to encourage

and support our students every step of the way through the writing process. It is important to

always let your students know you are proud of their writing! If children notice you are reading

what they write, they will certainly feel much more motivated (Serra). Giving them words or

notes of encouragement can mean the world to them and can be what keeps them going during

difficult times. It is our job to inspire young children to always try their best and to be proud of

what they create.

To motivate young children to write, it is important to teach writing through the use of a

variety of strategies. With the use of engaging, effective strategies, students will be more likely

to use and rely on them when they are stuck or struggling. All of the strategies that I found

during my research can easily be implemented into the classroom in hopes of motivating young

children to write. I am confident that I will be able to take this knowledge and incorporate all of

these strategies into my future classroom to help motivate and encourage students to develop not

only their skills, but a love of writing.


References

1. Berne, J. (2009). All About Adolescent Literacy. Retrieved from

http://www.adlit.org/article/36070/

2. Gallipoli, L. (2000). Lesson Plans: Journal Writing Ideas (Elementary, Reading/Writing).

Retrieved from http://teachers.net/lessonplans/posts/1492.html

3. Serra, R. (2014, August). How to help young English language learners love writing.

Retrieved from https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-help-young-

english-language-learners-love-writing

4. Tompkins, G. E. (2012). Chapter 5: Personal Writing. In Teaching Writing: Balancing

Process and Product (pp. 106-153). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.