Long time Gifted Exchange readers know that nurturing the talents of writers is one of my biggest interests within gifted education. Often, we focus on talented young mathematicians as the obvious geniuses among us, and schools in general are more prepared to do acceleration in math than in other subjects. But good writing also requires training, discipline and challenge.
So I thought I'd share two books that crossed my desk over the past year (after their publisher, Trumpeter, sent them to me). The Write Start, by Jennifer Hallissy, features a series of activities designed to make young children comfortable expressing themselves in words. These include everything from writing love notes and press releases to making scrapbooks. Each activity can be adapted for four levels of young children: scribblers (very little ones), spellers (those who can write their letters), storytellers (those who can express ideas in writing), and scholars ("writers who have also become readers"). Hallissy is a pediatric occupational therapist, and believes that pen/pencil/crayon writing is a very important brain development step for young children. Since I learned writing and reading back in 1984 with an early computer program called Writing to Read, I tend to think that learning to write on computers is fine too. But either way, the more children come to believe that writing is fun, the better.
What happens once they get older? That's where Rip the Page! by Karen Benke comes in. This book for 8-12 year olds is billed as "adventures in creative writing." Children do various activities such as re-writing cliches, writing fortunes for Chinese fortune cookies, composing acrostic poems, writing a biography for a color, and writing in the same style as different poets. All can spark the imagination, and hopefully will start young writers in creating their own longer stories.
How have you nurtured your young writers?