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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Telling Your Story with Confidence

How many people feel like they aren't good writers? 
"English isn't MY subject!"  
"Do I have to write it in a sentence?"  "Couldn't I just tell you about it!"  
"I hate writing!"  
It's quite common for people to struggle with communicating their stories, opinions and research in written words and then translate that frustration into a crippling lack of confidence.


A dear friend's young son has that impression, but a wise teacher had him dictate his story, showed it to him in print to begin to build his confidence as a great story teller.  Now, don't worry, he won't be dictating all his stories.  Certainly, he will be doing plenty of writing in his academic life, but what a great start.  His mom shared this site: http://edina.k12.mn.us/concord/teacherlinks/sixtraits/sixtraits.html.  It's a nice resource for beginning...you have to start somewhere!   


I was talking with one of my high school students that I tutor.  Her assignment was simple really.   Describe what the author was saying...no fancy analysis needed, just write a summary.  She had such a challenge starting.  My least favorite words came from her mouth, "I can't."  Like my friend's son, she could tell me everything that should have been on the paper, but thought she needed lofty vocabulary and perfection on the first try.  I told her to just get it out. The first one's a draft...no pressure.


Step 1:  understand the assignment
Step 2: make a list of thoughts, cool words, ideas...anything related to the assignment/topic
Step 3: make some sentences with those thoughts without concern over spelling and how great they sound.
Step 4: put the sentences in order and begin to edit them...dress them up a little.
Step 5: make a more final product...dressed up sentences in the proper order and check the picky stuff like spelling and punctuation.


After a bit of practice, you may not need all the steps, but if you're stuck in "I CAN'T" then you have to start somewhere...work the steps.  This technique can be helpful for students with disabilities who need assignments in smaller bits, not just the reluctant writers.


There are more writing & curriculum ideas on my website too: www.barbareeduke.com/downloads/downloads.htmIf you have ideas or sites worth a look, please share!  Don't be afraid of writing...it's just telling your version of the story.

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