What would you tell kids?

David as bookends IMAG2753

Hi everyone,

Friday I visited third grade classes at Eugene Field Elementary School in Springfield. The kids brought their questions written on note cards and they listened well when someone else was talking. Good teaching at work!

As we concluded, teacher Courtney Becker asked me what advice I would give their students about writing. It was an excellent question and one that might be answered in many ways. I’ll tell you what I said but am curious about how you would answer the question.

We had already talked about the importance of reading. I told them to observe the world around them, think about what they see, and make notes in case they decide to write about it. I said that writers pay attention to details. They don’t just look at flowers. They see the life going on in and around the blossoms. They see things that many people miss because they are paying attention. What writers observe brings them pleasure and a never ending world of possibilities to think about, read about, and write about.

How would have answered Courtney’s question?


4 comments on “What would you tell kids?

  1. Three things I tell students–kids or adults:

    1. Writing is a muscle. If you don’t work it every day, it gets flabby.
    2. Be prepared to write badly. As you revise, the thing you wrote will get better.
    3. Listen to the story or the poem. It will tell you what it needs.

    –Jane Yolen

  2. Some great advice here! I would add something I tell others all the time, when speaking about writing: Never assume that your first impression of a subject is original. That is, if you discover a detail or interesting twist on something, consider the fact that it has probably already been done…and either try to come up with a new way of presenting it, or keep digging. An easy way to test this out is by viewing comments on Facebook posts. How many times have you seen a post and was going to comment, but someone had already said what you were thinking? That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about!

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