Thank goodness, I thought today as I set my children off on their latest ‘big’ piece of writing, I can smell progress!
We’re trying our very best (I expect nothing less) to write our own adventure stories. For the past two weeks we’ve ‘loitered in the text’. We’ve dived into drama, wrote letters to characters, made puppets, taken walks down conscience alley even. Yes, we’ve definitely felt immersed!
So it was heartening to read through their writing tonight to see thirty shifts further along. And as I read, I knew this was because of rigour, relentless and continuous practice. For me, this is where primary school teachers, of even the young ones, need to be a little bit obsessive, in fact may be even completely obsessive, about fitting in a little writing every single day.
This shouldn’t mean complete overkill, or writing without purpose so that writing becomes laborious without enjoyment and context, but it should mean a continuity is present that makes writing regular and habitual. This is both a physical and mental habituation too, because writing is physical too, little hands and fingers need training.
For me, this means ten minutes a day (more for the oldies) writing anything from diaries, thoughts for the day or even plain handwriting practice, anything! Just a small amount of time over and above everything else that will always be present. In this way, all that immersion and loitering has a thread running through it and when you arrive at the quality writing, ZING! You’re writers will be off!