Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Writing Time

I mentioned in my Slice of Life on Tuesday that the post sprung from my notebook during my daily summer writing with my boys. A few commenters asked me to expand on what I’m doing with them. It is not earth shattering, or even that terrific, but I’m glad to share.

Some background to begin – Luke is eleven and going into fifth grade (my grade!), Liam is eight and going into third. Language arts have always been harder for Liam to grasp. He is fortunate to have had the chance to work with some amazing teachers in Reading Recovery and the RTI tiers over the past two years. With that knowledge, I knew I wanted to keep him writing this summer.

Everything is better with a new notebook and pens, so I purchased those for each of
the boys. On a pretty regular basis – I aim for daily, but it is often 2-3 times a week – we sit down in the dinning room to write. (The pictures in this post are from my bedroom on Wednesday. Summer cold & fever kept me there.) I usually share something with them – my writing, an idea I had, a sentence I pulled out of reading that inspired me, a photo – and then ask them to write. Sometimes we write about a certain topic, but more often it is free writing.

Liam's story about football camp
When we’ve written for a certain length of time, usually less than fifteen minutes, we stop and reread our writing. Liam struggles with punctuation and will typically have one period, at the end. I showed the boys how I reread my writing out loud, changing sentences when I don’t like the way they sound, creating paragraphs, adding punctuation, etc. I have noticed that they are now doing the same without being prompted. Often, their entries have illustrations added to them. Mine occasionally do.

One of my goals is to get them thinking like a writer. Seeing something in their every day life and thinking, I need to write about that. We are not there yet, but I have hopes we will get there. What I didn’t anticipate was the enjoyment of sitting and writing with them, reading our entries to each other when we’re done. That has been pretty cool.

Some days they come willingly to write, some days they groan. I am not to be deterred.
Luke is writing about directions to
Monopoly on the Xbox.
I do see hope on the horizon. Yesterday Liam asked if we were going to write, he wants to create a list. When I told him I was too sick and needed to sleep, he said he’d do it himself and share it with me when he was done. Yes!