In my quest to find ways to motivate my son to write, I have stumbled upon some very interesting articles. There are LOTS of opinions about literacy and boys and whether or not it should even be something we expect from them (because with technology they may not actually need to know conventions or how to form simple sentences). The teacher in me insists of course this is something we should expect and not only should we expect it we can help them even enjoy it (some may argue this is wishful thinking). However, this week we had a bit of a breakthrough at our house.
When I say I’ve tried many tactics with my son to get him to write it would be a gross understatement. To date, none of them have really managed to capture his attention or his interest. Until now - my son loves Lego! His imagination with Lego is so much fun to watch and he and his younger sister can amuse themselves for hours building scenes. One day while trolling Pinterest I saw a woman with a post about a Lego scene writing idea and thought it was genius. I introduced the idea to my two kids, told them to go and create scenes with their Lego and then take pictures of it with the Ipad.
My daughter decided this would be tons of fun with Barbies. They had a great time setting their scenes and then taking pictures of them. I was amazed at what they both came up with. Then I put the pictures into a document and printed them off. The kids then spent the next couple of hours writing their stories to match their pictures. When I told my son that he only had to do the first two pages (six pictures) he told me he wanted to keep going (insert Mom fist pump here). The stories they came up with were adorable and they are already planning their next ones. Now I’m trying to come up with other things they can photograph and write about. I have already thought of ways we can adapt this idea into the Lit Pit’s writing station and am so excited to try it out with my students.
I would love to hear about any ideas you’ve had inspiring your students to write!
Fourteen years into my teaching career and Literacy has always been my primary love. Teaching little people to read and write and seeing the world of books from new eyes brings me an immense amount of joy. I have spent many hours discussing how to get students who are reluctant readers and writers to be engaged. I have given ideas and activities to encourage parents who are at their wits end.
This year I’ve met my match.
He’s an incredibly bright little boy who reads above grade level, his oral comprehension and imagination are exceptional. Getting him to write however, is like pulling teeth. He comes up with every excuse in the book and truth be told our writing sessions are looking more and more like wrestling matches.
As irony would have it, this little boy also happens to be my son.
So this past year I have been on a mission to come up with inventive and exciting ways to encourage my son to write. I’ve tried video prompts, engaging hands on activities, lists, letters and stories. We’ve run laps between sentences, had writing breaks and tried every time of the day.
Writing is still a struggle. He has a million ideas but trying to get them on paper is hard. He immediately becomes tired, grumpy and is distracted by the smallest of things. Even though attention can be an issue for him at times if I put a math sheet in front of him or a book or Lego he’s able to focus for hours.
So this summer my task has been reading everything I can about boys and literacy. It seemingly has become a theme for me; people I hardly know have come up and asked me about getting their boys to read and write. Dinner party conversations have taken a turn to our education system and boys and the question of does our current system meet the needs of busy boys. I’ve begun asking myself, what can we do differently at our school to engage our boys and not only teach them to read and write, but create a culture where they choose to?
I believe things begin to change when we not only recognize the problem, but begin asking questions. I don’t think it’s coincidence I have a son who is demonstrating these challenges. It’s motivating me to find an answer. I would love to end this post telling you I’ve discovered a quick fix, but we’re definitely a work in progress. My son and I are on a quest to find ways to engage not only him but other boys like him. At the end of his school career I would love to be able to say that I’ve helped him not only learn to read and write, but Love to, and Choose to.
Stay tuned as the questions turn in to answers...
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about living life with my family, teaching and learning something new all the time. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!