Monday, December 2, 2013

National Write to a Friend Month - who is your friend?

December is National Write to a Friend Month and November is National Novel Writing Month. With the focus on getting students writing, I think back to how I was introduced to writing as a child and how we can encourage literacy among students.

As a child, I lived in a variety of places around the United States, but spent several years in Missouri, where my family originates. In Missouri were my cousins and, in particular, my favorite cousin - the one closest in age to me and the one I called my partner in crime. When my family decided to move, I was upset as was she. We did not understand how we could keep in contact with the miles in between us. Therefore, my mom suggested we become pen pals. From that day on, I became a writer. I wrote to my cousin; I wrote to my grandparents; I wrote to my former classmates and teachers; and, I even wrote to President Clinton and Bill Cosby. I documented all of my letters in my very own Lisa Frank notebook. Because I wrote letters and found pen pals in them, I viewed myself as a writer. And, this is the main difference between writers and non-writers, artists and non-artists. Those who consider themselves writers have been encouraged or have found a medium of writing where they can be successful. Every student can be and is a writer. However, many struggle on getting started or think on published authors are writers.

As we reflect on National Write to a Friend Month, how can we encourage students to write and to consider all forms of writing as just that - writing? Though most students would not identify with my pen and paper pen pals, they can be connected to students across the globe through Google Hangouts, ,Google Docs./Presentations, and a variety of other products. There are many more forms than just pen and paper to be considered a writer.

Today, let's use technology to encourage reluctant writers to become writers - something we all are.

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