Writing exercise

Hi everyone,

One of the books I’m working on involves modeling samples of writing for students in grades 3-5. This week I took a couple of the one-page examples and rewrote them for grades K-2. In the spirit of “know thy audience,” try this with something you’ve written.

What happens is that our mind automatically becomes aware of how certain words, phrases, and concepts that work for a 5th grader need to be simplified, explained in the text, or dropped altogether for a kindergarten student. You may find that the new version has more words in it because of the need to explain, and that may take you over your word limit. Then you must go back through, looking for ways to trim without giving up anything that spoils the message.

I think this is a good exercise for writers of any age, including elementary and middle school students. A 5th grader might be reluctant to revise his work under normal circumstances but willingly accept the challenge of rewriting what he’s done, pretending it’s now for someone in 1st grade.
Christmas, 2011 017
On a very happy note, our son Jeff and daughter-in-law Jennifer arrive for the holidays on Sunday evening. Can’t wait to hug them and have them with us again!

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6 comments on “Writing exercise

  1. I find the same thing in the classroom. From year to year, depending on the make up of my class, I might explain things in different ways. This year’s kids need simpler explanations than last year’s. One of my brightest students this year frequently tells me I talk like a riddle. I’ve figured out that means I need to simplify.

    • Good morning, Adrienne! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. Jennifer has mentioned this sort of year-to-year difference too. I appreciate your comment.

  2. Your idea would work for my middle schoolers if they’re writing for their young buddies, too, David. Fun! And lovely to hear about your company. My family arrives Monday! Merry, merry Christmas!

    • Hi, Linda. I’m glad you think it might work with your kids. I’m thinking it would not always have to even be something they wrote. Maybe choose something that they like and rewrite it for a young child. Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

    • It will be done. And they will, I am quite certain, will wish the same for you. I tried to raise that boy not to talk to strangers, but you know kids these days.

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