Writers Camp

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

The work of the High School Writers Camp would not be possible without the generous support of our institutional and private donors. We thank all of our donors and pledge to continue to work with professionalism and accountability.

 

The DEL Group, Inc. and High School Writers Camp gratefully acknowledge the support of the following:


Dr. Ann Smith

ABC Chiropractic
123 Main St
Newberg, Or

503-707-9195



Don Loyd
Certifed Brokers, LLC

Your Realtor for Life.
Things to Know for Small Children

Writing is more than putting words on paper. It's a final stage in the complex process of communicating that begins with "thinking." Writing is an especially important stage in communication, the intent being to leave no room for doubt. Has any country ratified a verbal treaty?

One of the first means of communication for your child is through drawing. Do encourage the child to draw and to discuss his/her drawings. Ask questions: What is the boy doing? Does the house look like ours? Can you tell a story about this picture?


Most children's basic speech patterns are formed by the time they enter school. By that time children speak clearly, recognize most letters of the alphabet, and may try to write. Show an interest in, and ask questions about, the things your child says, draws, and may try to write.


Writing well requires:


  • Clear thinking. Sometimes the child needs to have his/her memory refreshed about a past event in order to write about it.
  • Sufficient time. Children may have `stories in their heads' but need time to think them through and write them down. School class periods are often not long enough.

  • Reading. Reading can stimulate a child to write about his/her own family or school life. If your child reads good books, (s)he will be a better writer.

  • A Meaningful Task. A child needs meaningful, not artificial writing tasks. You'll find suggestions for such tasks in the section, "Things To Do."

  • Interest. All the time in the world won't help if there is nothing to write, nothing to say. Some of the reasons for writing include: sending messages, keeping records, expressing feelings, or relaying information.

  • Practice. And more practice.

  • Revising. Students need experience in revising their work-- i.e, seeing what they can do to make it clearer, more descriptive, more concise, etc.


Pointers for Parents
 In helping your child to learn to write well, remember that your goal is to make writing easier and more enjoyable.

Provide a place. It's important for a child to have a good place to write--a desk or table with a smooth, flat surface and good lighting.


Have the materials. Provide plenty of paper--lined and unlined--and things to write with, including pencils, pens, and crayons.


Allow time. Help your child spend time thinking about a writing project or exercise. Good writers do a great deal of thinking. Your child may dawdle, sharpen a pencil, get papers ready, or look up the spelling of a word. Be patient--your child may be thinking.


Respond. Do respond to the ideas your child expresses verbally or in writing. Make it clear that you are interested in the true function of writing which is to convey ideas. This means focusing on "what" the child has written, not "how" it was written. It's usually wise to ignore minor errors, particularly at the stage when your child is just getting ideas together.


Don't you write it! Don't write a paper for your child that will be turned in as his/her work. Never rewrite a child's work. Meeting a writing deadline, taking responsibility for the finished product, and feeling ownership of it are important parts of writing well.


Praise. Take a positive approach and say something good about your child's writing. Is it accurate? Descriptive? Thoughtful? Interesting? Does it say something?

Things to Do

Make it real. Your child needs to do real writing. It's more important for the child to write a letter to a relative than it is to write a one-line note on a greeting card. Encourage the child to write to relatives and friends. Perhaps your child would enjoy corresponding with a pen pal.

Suggest note-taking. Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings and to describe what (s)he saw. This could include a description of nature walks, a boat ride, a car trip, or other events that lend themselves to note-taking.


Brainstorm. Talk with your child as much as possible about his/her impressions and encourage the child to describe people and events to you. If the child's description is especially accurate and colorful, say so.


Encourage keeping a journal. This is excellent writing practice as well as a good outlet for venting feelings. Encourage your child to write about things that happen at home and school, about people (s)he likes or dislikes and why, things to remember or things the child wants to do. Especially encourage your child to write about personal feelings--pleasures as well as disappointments. If the child wants to share the journal with you, read the entries and discuss them--especially the child's ideas and perceptions.


Write together. Have your child help you with letters, even such routine ones as ordering items from an advertisment or writing to a business firm. This helps the child to see firsthand that writing is important to adults and truly useful.


Use games. There are numerous games and puzzles that help a child to increase vocabulary and make the child more fluent in speaking and writing. Remember, building a vocabulary builds confidence. Try crossword puzzles, word games, anagrams and cryptograms de- signed especially for children. Flash cards are good, too, and they're easy to make at home.


Suggest making lists. Most children like to make lists just as they like to count. Encourage this. Making lists is good practice and helps a child to become more organized. Boys and girls might make lists of their records, tapes, baseball cards, dolls, furniture in a room, etc. They could include items they want. It's also good practice to make lists of things to do, schoolwork, dates for tests, social events, and other reminders.


Encourage copying. If a child likes a particular song, suggest learning the words by writing them down--replaying the song on your stereo/tape player or jotting down the words whenever the song is played on a radio program. Also encourage copying favorite poems or quotations from books and plays.