Writing takes practice. As teachers we place great emphasis on building students’ reading stamina and yet when it comes to writing we assume students will write independently for extended periods of time without becoming distracted or giving up. If students must practice stamina for reading, why not do it for writing as well?
Early in the year many teachers find their entire class lacks writing stamina and for those who struggle to get words on the page, building writing stamina is paramount in helping students communicate their ideas.
Try these 3 simple strategies to help your students get their thoughts down on paper.
Students write daily for several minutes without stopping. If a student gets stuck or runs out of ideas, they are encouraged to write the last word written over and over until ready to move on. When the timer goes off, students are asked to finish their last sentence. If students are successful in writing for the entire time, increase the amount of time up to about 10 minutes. Students need not worry about spelling as they are simply to write as much as they can in the time allotted. Some teachers have students count the number of words written and notice the increase over time.
Below are a few simple prompts to get you started:
- Writing a list; Best/worst things that have happened to me. After students have finished writing, have them star 3 of the things on the list that they may want to write more about later.
- All about me. Write about yourself. How old are you? Tell me about your family. Do you have any pets? What is your favorite thing to do?
- What DIDN’T you do this summer? Make a list of all the things you DID NOT do this summer
- Imagine you could turn invisible. What would you do? Where would you go? What would you do?
A quick google search will glean many more for you to use.
Story Cards for Fiction Writing
Engagement often increases when writers make up their own imaginative stories. Make cards for each of the following story elements: setting, characters, and conflict. Write down multiple places, different roles or people, and various problems.
Choose one of each of the three cards and have students write a story based on the setting, character or characters, and conflicts chosen. You will find some ready made on TPT!
Allowing students time to write in whatever genre or form they want is a sure way to increase writing stamina. Some teachers designate a journal or notebook specifically for this purpose. A set time each day is dedicated to free writing. It is not intended that the writing generated be graded but students may want to tag a page for you to read or to be shared with classmates.