Learn to Write, Write to Learn

Kari has written a wonderful book on teaching writing... It is ten chapters long and this is installment seven. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!


I’ve been so concerned about teaching children how to write that this notion snuck in the back door:  We don’t just learn to write, but more importantly, we write to learn.  We write because it brings meaning to our life.  We write so that our ideas and memories can take voice.  We write so that ideas become clearer.
I’ve talked about writing journals.  Let me tell you how keeping a writing journal has benefited our family.  When I read about writing a journal in Lucy McCormick Calkin’s book The Art of Teaching Writing I was intrigued.  I loved the idea of having a place to store my ideas and thoughts - not a chronological diary, but rather an idea keeper.

I tried it myself and encouraged my children to do the same.  I even encouraged my parents to try it.  They did and the memories, thoughts, and ideas began to flow!  I carry my journal with me everywhere.  I find quotes or ideas even in the mundane, at the grocery store or at Taekwondo class. Even in the car I’ll yell to the kids, “quick, find a pen and write down this idea!”

In my own life I began to transplant ideas out of my writing journal; memoirs, stories, poems, letters to old friends, questions that I had asked myself, into bigger projects.  I even transplanted my inner ponderings about writing, and alas, here is this book and website!

Writing has taken on a new meaning for me.  Actually, my life has taken on new meaning.  I now look for parallels in my life.  I celebrate the new and unusual and record all of it in my journal.  I am constantly learning.
I’ve given people the assignment to write about the important people and teachers who helped shape their character or that taught them important lessons, and then put that information into a fan shape.

I’ve encouraged people to stop and look at their life through a “Timeline” or “A Day In the Life”.

Writing has changed our lives.  We write ideas down and then challenge them, hoping to draw more from them.  Writing has made our life much more enjoyable, beautiful, and purposeful.

Next week: "Set-up Your Writing Area"

You can leave your thoughts, comments or suggestions here on my feedback page. Thanks!

- Kari