How do you encourage writing outside of the classroom?
Growing up, I loved both reading and writing. Reading allowed me to become someone else while writing allowed me to decide how the story would end. When it came to reading, I did not have many choices. My great-grandmother was not very proficient in English and struggled with helping my sister and I with homework assignments. She tried her best to read, but would often resort to having my sister or I read written notices to her. I did not have a library. Instead, I had my basal that came home 5 days a week. I would sit and read the stories that we had covered in class and move on to the stories that were coming. I remember begging my teacher to let me move on to the next book in our sequence. Of course, she would let me. She even gave me a latter basal and workbook to complete at home. I loved the writing prompts and would often assign them to my sister when we would play school.
Later, I moved on to general writing. I would write poems, love letters (of course), and diary entries. Diary entries were my favorite. I would often take those entries and turn them into mysteries…especially after becoming hooked on those old time T.V. classics (Reading Rainbow and Ghost Writer). Every Friday night, I would stand in front of my great-grand and her company and read my stories to them…followed by jokes, singing, and acting. Every Friday, my great-grand would say how proud she was of me.
This year, I have been blessed with 30 amazing kids. Out of the 30, 5 write at home faithfully. As for the other 25, I wish they knew the power of both reading and writing. At the same time, this is their generation. In this generation, texting and sending messages via social media are forms of writing. I am not going to force kids to write at home, but I will continue to encourage it.