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So this morning, I helped out in E's class for a while. I always enjoy working with this teacher (D had her, as well) -- she's funny and smart and very good at what she does.

Anyway, the students are working on creative writing. Last week, their teacher modeled how to write the beginning, middle, and end of a story (including a problem and solution). This week, they're on their own (kind of).

E decided to write about a haunted house. Her story is fine -- but man, I can really see that she doesn't read very much! D has always been a voracious reader, but E is closer to a reluctant reader. Even books she 'reads', she mostly skims through or reads in a non-linear fashion. She looks at the pictures (she's not interested in chapter books without pictures) and jumps around. I have no idea if she's getting any sense of actual story through all of this.

The result is that when she writes fiction, it's very pedantic. She doesn't know how to make those intuitive jumps using creativity. So she started with a problem (the kids were trapped in a haunted house). When asked how they got there, she didn't know. And she couldn't seem to think of any reason. Then her teacher asked her how they would escape, and after a couple minutes of thinking, she said, "The door?"


Yeah, I need to get her reading more...but that's not easy, as many of you know. The funny thing is (interesting thing?), when it comes to expository writing, she's amazing -- far ahead of everyone else in her class. In all honesty, I was very similar to her. I never had the patience for creative writing -- the difference was, I thought of too many possible directions the story could take and was far too lazy to explore any of them in depth. But when it came to non-fiction writing (of any sort), I could do it in my sleep.

Anyone have suggestions for E? :)


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
i think she'll get there with time. As far as encouraging reading, does she have a favorite TV character? Sometimes that's a good "in" to read stories with those characters. There's also audio books or you could try reading a book together then watching the movie based on it (like Charlotte's Web or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). What is she interested in? Sometimes it's just one thing that'll get them hooked. Many of the young girls around here are really into fairies and there's no shortage of chapter books on those!
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
She doesn't like fantasy (*gasp*). She's read quite a few of the 'Arthur' books, which the PBS show is based on. They're not that creative, either, however ;) I like the idea of bribing (though you didn't use that word, ha) her with a movie...thanks :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
She sounds far ahead of many high schoolers ... I would relax and see if you can find some interesting books.

"The Door" would be my answer too ... lol...creative as a rock am I.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
LOL -- when her teacher her asked her for another answer, after a long pause, she said, "The window?" :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)

No, really.

Audiobooks. An old walkman and some kids' books on tapes or CD from the library. Lemony Snickett or Bud, Not Buddy or -anything- relatively short. Junie B. Jones, even.

Listen together in the car, or even at night when you're doing chores in the same room, or in the kitchen while pulling meals together. Short bursts are okay.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
All right...I might have to try this. Plus, she likes to listen as she goes to sleep (right now she listens to music, but a nice -- non scary -- book might be the trick)! Thanks :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't worry too much about where she's at right now with her writing. Reading aloud and books on tape are always good suggestions, as are creative play such as dress-up and role-playing.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
Um, would I have to dress up and act out with her? (I don't really do that kind of thing, heh) :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Sounds like she's got the makings of a technical writer. Does she read graphic novels at all? The kids at my school who don't like reading still check those out. Also, anything with humor.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
I've gotten her a couple of graphic novels, and as along as they don't have too small of print, she likes them. Humor is a great idea -- I've noticed she gravitates toward that...so now I just need to find more :) thanks!
Mar. 11th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
What grade is she in again? I could try to suggest some things that are popular with my kids.
Mar. 11th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
She's in first -- her reading level is beginning 3rd, but...:)
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm... the first graders in my school don't check out much besides picture books (although, there are TONS of funny picture books - my kids especially like anything by Mo Willems). Nate the Great and Young Cam Jansen are good if she likes mysteries. The older kids like to check out Junie B Jones - I don't care for her personally, but she's sort of funny. She could probably read Roald Dahl - he is so fun, and then you could all watch the movies together. Arg, I already packed all my books, so I'm sure I'm forgetting everything. Just Grace is a cute series. My Weird School is very popular too with 3rd graders - not sure if it would be too hard for her right now. That's all I have at the moment... Hope it helps - if you want!
Mar. 10th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Then her teacher asked her how they would escape, and after a couple minutes of thinking, she said, "The door?" That sounds like something I would've said as a child. It makes sense, right?

No advice. She may come around. I never really got into reading until I was 12. Not sure if that's any consolation...
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
No, that *is* a consolation. Plus, I need to remind myself that I didn't start writing creatively until I was...well, much older than seven ;) And I survived!
Mar. 11th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
My older daughter took a long time to get into reading. It wasn't until this year (3rd grade) that she really found something that hooked her. I read a lot to my kids and I have tried EVERYTHING, trying to get her interested. Then one I wasn't expecting hooked her, and it's sort of sparked a lot more interest. But the graphic novel idea is a good one, too--that was something she has always liked reading. There aren't too many of them for younger readers, though--the only bad thing.

OTOH, everyone's got their strengths, you know? And maybe expository writing is her thing and she'll go into a more math/science field and be really good at it.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
That's true...she's also very good at dialogue -- she could probably write a very involved discussion on how they might escape through the door (ha).

At this time last year, I couldn't even get her to read more than five minutes at a time, so I know she's getting there...I just get impatient ;)
Mar. 11th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
I didn't liked to read until I was 12, then I read everything. Maybe she justs needs time. I like the idea of books with movies, then when seeing them you can say do you remember that, or you liked they changes or you imagined it like taht. Maybe that help
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
I like that idea too -- thanks, Anabel ;)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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