Getting kids to write over summer…
I’ve tried it all.
I’ve sent home daily writing tasks, such as “Write about something you see out the window,” or “Pretend to be your favorite book character and invent a new story.” I’ve had kids shop for blank writing paper from each genre, jotting possible plans on each booklet. I’ve sent home envelopes with stamps, inviting kids to write me letters. Admittedly, I’ve even offered prizes for showing me summer writing in the fall.
While reflecting on the ways I used to encourage summer writing, it’s evident to me that the emphasis wasn’t on the writer, it was on the writing. It was on keeping kids busy with writing instead of engaged as writers. I can say, without a doubt, the kids who brought me a heap of booklets were not interested in actually sharing their writing with me, or in their writing at all, but rather in receiving a long-awaited *prize*.
As a writer, I rarely write following a prompt, and if I do, it is a thoughtfully selected and reflective prompt. Even more shocking, no one gives me a prize when I publish a piece. The reward is much better, and intrinsic.
So, as I prepare information to share with families for engaging their children in learning over the summer, I want to honor the work we’ve done this year and encourage families to support their children with independently pursuing that work until school begins again.