Published and in Primary: The Outcomes of Writers’ Workshop
Did you ever think your child would be a published author before 1st grade?! Well this week the Primary Year 3 students achieved just that. As a culminating event for Writers’ Workshop the students wrote, edited, illustrated, and launched their ‘Me Books.’ The students presented and read their books to the special adults in their lives.
Throughout the year, the Year 3 students work toward writing a story independently using a provided topic. During forty-five minute sessions of Writers’ Workshop on Thursday afternoons, the children receive mini-lessons relating to the writing process. Each lesson builds upon the previous, adding a new level of difficulty. This gives the children the opportunity to practice newly-acquired skills, such as letter formation or punctuation.
The writers begin the year by drawing a picture and verbally sharing a story related to the drawing. The purpose behind this first lesson is to introduce storytelling without bogging the children down when their handwriting and spelling skills are not yet in place. Next the writers label their illustration, and the following week students write one sentence to tell the story behind their picture. Each additional week adds more lines for writing and less drawing space. From this point the writers learn to use a ‘mind map’ to help organize their ideas and thoughts before writing.
One phrase the Writers’ Workshop teachers often say to the children is ‘When writers think they are done, they’ve only just begun.’ This helps the children understand that writing is a process and often takes revision and revisiting to complete, making the story clear and legible for readers. The writers learn how to look through their stories and find errors that need to be revised for the next draft.
Additionally, the teachers use many supplemental materials to bolster the program such as books, word tables, story cards, story cubes, and examples of other children’s work. When our students move up to first grade, Writers’ Workshop continues in the Elementary program where the children spend time daily honing their writing skills.
Please take a moment to swing by the Library and read the Me Book Anthology. As this is the third year of the Book Launch, there are now three separate volumes—how exciting!