Our writing time as taken on a new element and the change has been very good. Up until now I have sat with James and helped guide him on his stories, but I have never written a story in front of him. We've begun "writing workshop" which you can search that term on YouTube and find many talented teachers doing this with their students and see for yourself how it works.
My reasoning for starting this with James is so that I can introduce new elements to him in a natural way. It's one thing to practice putting periods at the end of your sentences on a worksheet. It's another thing to be writing down a thought and finding naturally where the end of the thought occurs. Writing Workshop gives me the ability to introduce higher level writing to him through my own writing. I can talk about my story and my experience as a writer while writing in front of him. I love it!
Here is the first story I did for him a week or so ago. I had eaten dinner with my friend the night before and our waiter was super forgetful so I decided to write about it. I tried to write a simple story just slightly above what James can do right now. Of course I can write a better story than this, but if I introduce too many new elements in my writing he won't be able to keep up. We worked on beginning, middle, end and using periods at the end of our thoughts.
All I did the first day was make my plan (the picture on top) and write my first sentence.
Then James went into his draftbook and made a plan for his story and wrote his first sentence. "On Dad's birthday we went to see Despicable Me 2. You can see with his writing that he is picking up more and more sight words with his spelling, but that he still mostly sounds words out when he's writing. I do not put a huge emphasis on spelling because it can really slow down the writing process, but if I know he can spell a word I make him do it correctly. From this particular sentence it is clear to me that he doesn't know the word "went" yet and so that would be a great word for me to have him practice for spelling and word work. I never tell him how to spell a word correctly. I just encourage him to sound it out and ask himself "Does that look right?"
I didn't take a picture of my second day of writing, but you can see what I did because it's in green. I wrote in a different color each day because I've been trying to help a fellow friend out with her writing workshop and I wanted her to be able to see the different things we did each day. I wouldn't normally choose a different color for each day. The second day I ended up adding something to my plan about the waiter (because I had forgotten that funny part the first day) and added a second sentence to my story.
James didn't add to his plan this day he just added more detail about the movie theater. I love how he said, "The theater smelled like pop corn burned in the microwave". He had wanted to write "The theater was stinky" and all I asked him was, "What did it smell like?" and so he wrote the descriptive smell instead of just stinky. Guiding him to the next level of writing is what "Writing Workshop" is all about.
The third and final day I finished my story and so did he. Then on the fourth day I wrote his story in a book (construction paper stapled together), he illustrated it and then shared it with his dad. This is what our writing will begin to look like each week.
"I was glad Dad had a birthday."
I highly encourage you to check out "writer's workshop" on youtube and decide for yourself how you can help your child become a better writer.