Sustain excitement: Publish!
Nothing gets budding writers more excited than the possibility of having an authentic published work and an enthusiastic audience for their creations. Publishing does not have to be tedious or time consuming. The writing just has to go somewhere besides the teacher for a grade. Sharing and feedback will immediately inject enthusiasm for writing into your Writing Workshop.
For years, I asked students to decide where to send their writing at the end of the unit. I'd say something like, "These are really good stories. Where should we send them?" Once I began writing, I realized that knowing who my audience was determined my purpose, my vocabulary choice, my tone. Without knowing my audience, I was lost.
As a result, now I ask my student to select the audience as a class before we start the unit. If we are going to write narrative stories, should we deliver them to our kindergarten buddies down the hall? What kind of topics should we write about? What kind of words should we use? Should we write stories that are entertaining or informational? Or, we might be studying the opinion genre. Should we write our opinion in the form of letters or essays? Should we send these letters to the principal or to our parents? What kind of language and facts should we use that will persuade others to believe us?
There are many ways to help your students have the publishing experience in your school and at home. This list was generated by students of mine:
- Make your own books.
- Read your story to a reading buddy.
- Type your stories and print them out. Make a display in the office.
- Make photocopies as gifts.
- Frame your stories.
- Make a collection of stories from your friends or classmates.
- Read your story over the intercom.
- Send your story to a writing contest.
- Read to another class or a favorite person.
- Surprise last year’s teacher by sending him or her a copy of your latest story.
- Publish in the school newspaper.
- Make a poster to display your story.
- Post your story on the classroom bulletin board.
- Send your story to a pen pal or relative.
- Visit other classrooms to read your piece.
- Print stories. Put them into clear folders and place them on the lunch tables. Students love reading each other’s stories.
- Students write and illustrate. They practice reading the story aloud. Tape record the story on 15-minute audiotapes. Listen for fluency. Re-record, if necessary. Put story, illustration, and audiotape in a listening center for all to share.
Next: Publishing to the world!
Copyright 2016 by Karen Haag
A resource for people passionate about helping students write well, compiled by Karen Haag