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Focus on Building Writers, Not Simply Illustrators
march 3, 2011
In order for your young writers to write with more details, more words, and more sentences, they need to spend more time writing and less time drawing. But getting 7-year-olds to put down their crayons can be difficult. Try one of these two approaches:
Write today. Draw tomorrow.
Within your next mini-lesson, compare your students to a professional illustrator who uses the author’s words to guide his drawings. Explain that the illustrations come after the word/sentence writing. Encourage your students to write first today, like professional authors. In order to further emphasize this point, have all the students turn their papers upside down, putting the lines at the top and the blank portion at the bottom. The drawing will now be an after-writing illustration.
Provide the picture.
It’s possible your students still need a visual to drive their thinking and writing. That’s not unusual. But again, to encourage writing words/sentences over drawing, consider just giving your students kid-appropriate photographs pulled from magazines. They can tape them down in the blank portion of the writing paper and begin writing about the subject matter right away.