I’m an English teacher, well I was until yesterday, I don’t think it will leave me easily. I love stories and words more than almost anything. From a very very early age I read The Gruffalo to my son, every night. I feel immensely guilty that I have read a lot less to my daughter, but still a lot. Both of them love telling stories, we often leave the books alone at bedtime and lie telling each other made up stories (usually involving dragons, forests and flying) until someone falls asleep or runs out of patience.
I recently bought a structured gratitude journal, and I’ve been trying to make it a family event, a few times a week to record some of the things we have enjoyed, smiled at and would like to remember. My daughter, who is four, is desperate to write in the book, she can only write her name though so she usually ends up dictating her embellished version of the day to me. My son on the other hand is less keen to write in a creative way. He’ll write a list, a letter, instructions or a menu, but beyond that he hasn’t shown much interest (apart from the obligatory school exercises- not to belittle them, I just think that is more to do with him being eager to please his teacher and to ‘do well’.
Anyway, tonight, I showed the image of the candle to him. He knew I was setting a writing challenge over the holiday, I asked him what he would write about the picture and he said “a poem” straight away. He had a moment of frustration because it didn’t rhyme, but once I told him it didn’t matter and that his sister could help, he enjoyed it. I suppose I’m writing this now because I want to remember the fact that you can’t predict what will engage a person with writing. I’ve always thought that having choices and a certain amount of freedom is the best way to find confidence in writing, but many students need far more scaffolding to be able to become familiar with the structures etc.
Read to your children, it is the most important thing you can do. The world opens up when you can read and write and share your ideas easily.
(There is another blog post about the horror of just publishing a ramble like this- who will see it, what will they think- but life is TOO SHORT!) xxx