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Blackbird & Company

Writing for Real

Writing worksheetThe exchange always goes something like this:

“I can’t teach writing.”

“Yes you can! If you have ever been inspired by words on a page, then you can teach writing.”

If you can read and ask questions when you read something that is not clear, you can be a writing mentor. Whether we are reading a newspaper article, a scientific journal, a novel, or a poem, who wants to read words that are void of ideas?

Great writing begins with an idea crafted to words on a page by a courageous writer.

Madeline L’Engle in, Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art, confides, “I am grateful that I started writing at a very early age, before I realized what a daring thing it is to do, to set words on paper, to attempt to tell a story, create characters.”

The most important thing we can do when it comes to teaching a child to write is to value their imagination and to teach them to do the same.

In my book, Habits of Being: Artifacts from the Classroom Guild, I’ve collected snapshots from my experience teaching my own children and students in my Guild to demonstrate just what happens when they engage their curiosity.

Ask yourself, “Do I want my child to write formulaically or to write for real?”

Teaching children to write for real begins by teaching them to believe that their ideas are important enough to do the work of shaping words on a page.

Teach your child to become storytellers. Regardless of domain—fiction to non-fiction—great writing tells a story. Writing is a wonderfully tedious process. Provide writing opportunities that teach children the cardinal rule of real writing: Imagination first. After all, imagination is the seat of great ideas. When children discover that their imagination is valuable and relevant, they will work diligently to refine their voice. Purpose helps writers develop habits of being that motivates them to move through the writing process:

  1. Come up with an idea
  2. Write your idea
  3. Re-read and refine your idea
  4. Have someone else re-read and refine your idea
  5. Polish your words on the page

Moving from reading and recognizing ideas, to engaging in personal expression through writing, develops an awareness of the world at large. When students are encouraged to engage in the process of writing, they will discover the power of words.

Great writing is work connected to the soul. Great writing brings shape to imagination. Great writing evokes, engages, and inspires human curiosity.

Students who engage in the process of real writing will develop confidence in their voice, strengthen their ability to communicate new ideas and become keen observers of their world. And those are words on the page that are worth reading.


15% Off Essential Writing Tools!

Use the discount code "realwriting" through the end of February and leap into writing instruction...

Essay UnitIntro to Composition: The Esssay

Using The Essay unit, students will actively engage in the work of transforming a cluster of abstract thought into a big idea. This course teaches them to coherently communicate that idea within a focused structure while drawing the reader into their thoughts. Activities will emphasize content, process, strategy, mechanical conventions, and style. This year-long course focuses on composing the descriptive and literary essay.

Essay UnitExploring Poetry

Our Exploring Poetry guide gives students an opportunity to delight in the reading of great poetry and discover the craft of writing poems, incorporating both analytic and creative exercises to spark the poet inside of your student. Created for middle and high school students, Exploring Poetry is appropriate for 5th grade and beyond and is designed to work for a range of writing abilities. The bundle includes a seven-week poetry guide that can be expanded to 14 weeks, a personal journal, art cards and required books.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

—William Wordsworth   

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save 15% on these new guides through the end of february!

(Use the discount code "realwriting")

Patricia Polacco Author Unit
"My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!" –Patricia Palocco

Patricia Palacco Bundle

Books included in the bundle:

  • Babushka's Doll
  • Luba and the Wren
  • The Bee Tree
  • Rechenka's Eggs
  • Just Plain Fancy

Click to view all of our Earlybird bundles

The Hundred Dresses
A classic, award winning book about prejudice and understanding.

The Hundred Dresses Bundle

My Name is Maria Isabel
For Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name.

Maria Isabel Bundle

Click to view all of our Level 1 bundles


about us

We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and classrooms and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your students’ delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers and writers!

Blackbird & Company Educational Press

11613 Washington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90066 | Visit our website blackbirdandco.com

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