Writing centers motivate your primary learners to not only write, but love writing. This has been a tried and true, classroom tested way of motivating even the most reluctant writers. This is especially true when the teacher is excited about it too! Your writing center and classroom library are the hubs of your classroom. Your students go there to read, write, connect with books, and connect with other readers and writers. I’ve also discovered that these places can also become places of solitude. Students can go to regulate tough emotions. It is a place of comfort.There are a multitude of reasons why you would want to set up a writing center. This post will highlight 3.
1. Writing Centers Support Communication Skills
We teach children how to write in order to be able to communicate effectively now and when they are older and have a job. Writing centers in the early years that promote practice in letter writing, notes, recipes and more show students how we use written communication everyday. It is one way we can express ourselves. Mini lessons on each aspect of the center topics are essential for students to get the full learning benefit of the activities. If you have a writing center and you are finding that your students are getting bored easily, reflect on what you are offering your students there. Ask yourself:
- Are the activities meaningful?
- Did you do a mini lesson first?
- Did you launch a topic with a great children’s book? (You can find mini book units here.)
- Are you motivating the students will your enjoyment of the writing they are doing?
2. Active Community Builders
Quality writing centres are bustling places where students are writing, sharing ideas through discussions and maybe going from their desk or table to the center and back. This helps to build classroom community. This bustle is a learning bustle. It is focussed and relevant to learning how to write. You can always recognize focussed chatter. Writing is more than pencil to paper. Students go to the center to pick up writing tools, paper, or design tools for illustrations. Alternatively, they can go there to speak to another student who is working there about the story/text that they are writing.
3. Writing Centers Build Learner Confidence
Teaching kids to write has a big impact on their confidence as a learner. Ideally, students are given voice and choice in the writing that they do. This is why structured writing prompts aren’t always the best way to motivate kids to write. Early writers need lots of scaffolded support in sentence writing but they also need practice with different kinds of meaningful writing. Students feel proud when they can choose to write something and are encouraged to use their own phonetic spelling as they write. The writing they do on their own can then tell us a lot about what skills we need to work on with them.
Save yourself some time in creating your own writing center display as I have done it for you. Everything you need to get started is right here including samples of all the possible writing center topics and samples for early primary and later primary. Just print, teach and display! Don’t have a spare bulletin board? No problem. Set it up as a trifold display!
For more information on teaching writers workshop to complement your primary writers, click here.
If you have any questions or comments about this post, please share them in the comments section so that we can learn from each other.