Does your child struggle to articulate their thoughts and emotions when producing a piece of writing? Many children find the barrier of the blank page too big a hurdle to cross, and end up falling short of showcasing their talents in writing. So, how can we help them to tap into their inner creativity?
The secret to taking ownership of their work is to have a real audience.
This is something I have believed in passionately throughout all of the years I have been teaching. When you know who you are writing for, it makes it easier to produce a mental checklist of 'must haves' in your content, no matter what format or genre you are working with.
I have been a secret poet since my own childhood, but I have rarely shared my work with anyone. I have always viewed poetry as an outlet or channel for my creativity and emotion, but never felt 'worthy' of sharing any of my pieces with anyone, let alone read them aloud to a real audience. Until today.
I have recently become friends with Celia, a lovely woman who is a local artist and poet. Today she pushed me out of my comfort zone by asking me not only to share some of my poetry with her, but to also read it aloud. Admittedly, the poetry I selected to read to her was not written especially for this occasion, but it taught me a valuable lesson in ownership of work.
The strange and exhilarating experience of sharing my efforts with a real audience produced a real concoction of emotions: I felt very vulnerable, exposed but empowered, all at the same time. It made the scrutiny of my choice of vocabulary very personal. My emotional connection to the topic of my work was transferred to her by the sheer act of me reading it aloud. I felt validated when she asked to repeat sections of the poem, verses that struck a chord with 'my audience'. We discussed the imagery invoked by the particular phrases in the poetry. This made me think more deeply about the content of what I had written. Only then did I have that moment of clarity, that 'St Paul on the Road to Damascus' point - this REALLY is what children need to experience to take ownership of their creative writing.
By reading aloud and sharing writing, children will think more deeply about their content. They will, in turn, become their own critic, making sure their vocabulary choices, their sentence structure, their tone and style are all worthy to present to the audience.
Thank you, Celia! It just goes to show that empathy is the best teacher!
Emerald Education Centre offers online tutoring and in-person classes in Maths & English for children 4-14 yrs old. For more information, visit our website at elainelingard.wix.com/emeraldeducation