Reading and writing are the key to learning. You can do or learn anything if you can read without relying on someone else to tell or teach you. Writing is creative. Students should have the opportunity to write for fun, tell a story, not just report on the facts.
Remember when you heard a three-year old tell a long story about an experience, half of which was not true, just true in the mind of the child? Children love storytelling without rules. It is the beginning of becoming a good writer and being able to express oneself. I am not sure what happens but the rules of spelling, grammar, structure and the like stifle kids creativity and they don’t want to write. They feel boxed in by the rules.
So, how do you encourage creative expression through writing and, at the same time, adhere to standards and structure. After all, as one gets older, expectations of logical sequence are expected and grammar and spelling are important. The writing and story do have to make sense.
I suggest that we celebrate writing. Use it for expression, storytelling and as an evaluation of understanding. If kids start, they will get better with guidance. Don’t criticize but nurture and suggest. Read. What a great model for writers! There are so many ways to motivate. Tell a story about a book that was read – make your own ending. Keep a journal. Have a student blog about school activities or social studies or sports activities or performances children have seen. Let them be the critic. Write a play and act it out with students or puppets. The play can be about history or just an imagined story. Just get the students writing. This creative expression will benefit in a many ways. Small children love to tell stories. Bring that imagination into the classroom and write!