August 10, 2009

Soapbox Time!

So glad to see Learning Magazine featured my new Writing Tree Curriculum! Jennifer gave you an update on our wonderful recent Big Pencil writing workshop for kids. I can tell you that so many parents are very concerned about their children learning to write well…and in my opinion, with good reason. I believe children are natural born writers and we quickly talk them out of it! You can only write what you know, what is in your head and your heart—so that’s a pretty vulnerable thing to do, to put your heart and soul on paper. Seven and eight year olds do so with abandon; nine and up already begin to dread the “red pencil,” the critique (“Why did you say that?”), or worse, the lack of response if they intended to make you laugh or cry or be astounded. They are soon taught there must be some “perfect” way to write, or that it is all about the grammar and punctuation—it isn’t! It’s painful and heartbreaking to see kids shut down their natural gift of communicating with pizzazz and joy to seek to meet some adult (yes, school and test) expectations. Good thing I was stubborn and refused to play by the school rules. More about Writing Tree later, but while school starts back, applaud the efforts of children to write and encourage them. Good writing is truly an essential 21st century skill and we need kids to write with brevity, clarity and impact! I know—I need to hire them someday! Image copyright

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