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Tell Me A Story
February 26, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
The title of the article: "Author Claims Children Are Good Writers Before Born..." An interesting concept, perhaps something of a stretch. Truly believing there is a writer in every person, I read the article. The writer's message was actually: children are natural born writers. Poorly written headline aside, this children's book author has a valid point. Children are natural born story tellers - which leads to good writing. Little children have almost no inhibitions. They see, they speak -- at any age. Our one-year-old grandbaby says the most wonderful things. She has expression in her words and expression in her eyes and on her face as she looks directly at you and verbalizes. We have no idea what she is saying, but it is a wonderful story and that is exactly how we respond to her. On the plane a couple of weeks ago, a little boy across the aisle was telling his mother everything he saw, inside and outside. He was most observant and it was quite interesting to see things through his eyes. The mom responded to all of the things he saw, which is important to every little person. The most anticipated Christmas letter is from my cousin Sally. She has always been a good speaker and writer. Then she took a Master Story Teller's class. Her letters take on a "you are there" tone. Wonderful! The author from the article talks about children "freezing up" when they try to put their words on paper. Not long ago I was in an Emmetsburg elementary school classroom where the students were having a lesson in writing. The first problem: what should I write about? The teacher provided a grid of topics with everything from pets to playing to peers, and everything inbetween. Again,the author from the article said to give the childre something worth writing about. Our local teachers are right on target. We are all about texting or editing our thoughts for Twitter. We are distilling our conversations to the bare facts. Quite frankly, it takes the fun out of writing. Here is my thought: tell me a story. Make it humorous, dramatic, silly or sad. Once you tell the story, even if you are telling it to yourself, then you can think about putting it down on paper. Once the basic story is on paper, then revise, check grammar, punctuation and spelling. Seize the moment and tell the story. Write a letter on a piece of paper and give/mail it to a friend. Personalize your thoughts and have fun writing. It may become a keepsake for the recipient.
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