Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where love of writing is born

This month, my daughter started kindergarten at a public school. I'm one of those parents who just HAS to drop her off at her class instead of outside at the curb, and look around her classroom and school. She's been in school for a few weeks now and I have to say there's one aspect of the kindergarten curriculum which I've been impressed with: Focusing on books and writing.

Every day, part of my daughter's homework is to read a book. And they have "library day" once a week. They also work on letters, learning to write words and putting sentences together. I am constantly impressed with homework giving instructions on helping my child to read and write short, three-word sentences. My daughter already knows how to write some words, but this is a challenge for her to learn how to write MORE words. And as much as I want to make the learning "easy" for her since it's so new, I know I have to "sit back" and let her write these words on her own. Her writing isn't perfect, the letters are not perfect, but she gets them done in her own way and will improve on it later on.

Another thing is that the wing her class is in has posters and bulletin boards showcasing writing. Above the students' work are colorful announcements such as "We are Good Writers!" and "We are beginning writers!" I'll occasionally stop to read a sample here and there and just have to smile over how writing is being spotlighted at such a young age.

I remember as a child I indulged in my English assignments which called for a book report, short story or writing assignment. My teachers were very supportive of writing and they really nurtured that love of writing when there wasn't anyone else to read any of our work or give us a pat on the back. The gold star stickers on our papers were appreciation enough of a job well done!

Today's teachers help shape tomorrow's leaders. Not all teachers are as supportive of a student's desire to learn or a student's interest in writing, but when there is just one teacher who will stand by that interest and encourage the young student to learn how to write, it makes all the difference in the world. School is the perfect "workshop" for a young aspiring writer. It's where we learn how to write, where we learn how to put together a book report, short story, essay, thesis and poem. We're allowed to make mistakes when we write in school, and that absence of fears helps us to ermbrace our love for writing all the more.

I have not been to other elementary schools, so I'm not too aware if this focus on reading and writing in the young grades is a standard. But I think that any child enrolled in such a school that gives them a head start on reading and writing is sure to come out of that school with the same passion for words and writing they started out with.

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