The Writer

The oldest of the “Littles” loves to write. If she is not writing, she is singing or reading a book (in that order). By the way, the singing drives her mother crazy! She loves to get journals and she has already filled tons of them with her stories and song lyrics. Her mother says she writes on any paper she can find. For her birthday, I gave her several books that portrayed African American girls as the main character. Of the books she got she selected Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson to read first. When I asked her why she chose that one she looked at me in that 9 year-old way and said, “Grandma, it’s about me!” She loves words! She especially loves her words.

Just recently her writing was selected as a finalist in a Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest. To prepare the students to write their essays, the teachers read Martin’s Big Words and a biographical article about Martin Luther King, Jr. The students were asked to write about two character traits that described him. Here is what she wrote.

What POWERFUL words! I, too, am glad that Martin Luther King, Jr was brave and determined so that my granddaughter can grow up in a world were she feels that she is not treated differently or she has to live in fear.

As a finalist, she got to read her essay at a special school assembly where community members were invited to select the best essay. She was so proud of her essay.

I would venture to say that right now she is on a writing high. She was already in love with words but now she has witnessed the power of HER words. Her words caught the attention of others. An audience larger than her family and her class listened and reacted to her words. Her words received applause. Her words, her ideas were accepted by others. The writing high is a critical moment in her writing development. This essay allowed her to infer character traits and support her inference with evidence from the texts that were read aloud. The opening sentence and closing are strong. The body of her essay is on topic and connected ideas are group together. I wonder how might a teacher tap into this writing high wave to move her forward as a writer? In a writing conference, what would be an instructional point? What could a teacher leave her to work on to move her forward as a writer? I have my ideas but I would love to hear how you would support her as a writer. Comment to share your thinking.

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