With the Pencil Going the Way of the Dinosaur You Still Need to Know How to Teach Your Child to Write


Nowadays most schools let children print in block letters like the keys on a keyboard instead of teaching writing as in continuous cursive. Probably a lot of parents cannot see any benefit in teaching writing as their children spend more time on a keyboard than with a pen and notepad. With the influx of modern technology in the classroom and university it would seem that writing is going extinct.


http://merylvdm.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/essay-writing2.png?w=300But it doesn't have to be that way.

Your children still need to be able to write so you, the parent, need to know how to teach your children to write. Teaching writing is not too difficult and once your children know how to write they can write on cards and write shopping lists. I prefer the Montessori way of teaching writing and reading as it uses a hands on approach and can be used with a school textbook.

The basics behind the Montessori approach is sandpaper letters. You make up the words your child is learning at school or kindergarten. And your child traces the sandpaper letter feeling the texture of the sandpaper under her fingertips. This feeling the letters, helps to implant the letters and words and how to write them in your child's mind. When tracing the words your child is actually going through the motions of writing without a pencil. This gets the hand and arm muscles read to start writing when your child picks up a pen. 


Writing like most learning takes time, and I think the Montessori approach with sandpaper letters actually shortens the time it takes for you to teach your child to write.



According to Maria Montessori some children learn to read first, while others learn to write first. It depends on the child. I have the child trace the new words or phonic sounds with Montessori sandpaper letters and this helps to write the new words in the child's mind. While tracing the sandpaper letters the child is actually writing with her fingers so this is the start of the writing process. Sometimes teaching writing too early can hinder learning to read in some children. Because writing takes a longer time than reading it can slow down the child as she spends more time trying to write. If your child is a slow writer just stick to reading.

The school system of today has no time for slow writers but the main problem has more to do with hand strength than slow writing. Under the Montessori system the child's hand strength is built up every day. Therefore when they start to write the child can control the pencil. If your child is having problems with writing, start by building up your child's hand strength. This simple act seems to eliminate a lot of writing problems. Under the Montessori system the child will start to write by themselves. After tracing the sandpaper letters the child will usually pick up a pencil and just start to write without any encouraging. The first part of the writing process is learning to hold a pencil and coloring in different sized shapes. This gets the muscles in the hand and arm ready for writing. The earlier children start to hold and use a pencil the earlier they will start to write.
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How To Teach Writing

Writing is something that every one of us indulges in to some degree during our lives. We write at school and at college, at home and at work, and while we may not be putting pen to paper writing on a computer is still writing. Teaching writing takes patience and common sense, yet you do not have to be a classics master to teach people the basics of writing. Most of what is to be taught combines common sense with getting the best out of an individual technique and, as such, follows a pattern.
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If you are intending to teach creative writing then the important factor to remember is that everyone is different; what one person writes will bear no relation to what another produces, and that is why writing – creatively and originally – is such an important aspect of our lives.

If we all wrote in the same way, with the same style, nothing would progress; we would be stuck in a rut and all reading the very same thing. This is why the major aspect of teaching creative writing is in helping the writers to engage with and develop their own style.

Everyone has a style, a preference in the way they use words, and reading a selection of contemporary short stories is a good indication of this. It is nurturing this style that is part and parcel of the teaching process.

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Of course, there needs to be great attention to grammar and spelling; while computer spell checkers can be used to some extent in the respect they should not be relied upon as they cannot be completely accurate.

Grammar is one of the English languages most difficult aspects, for it is a language with many strange nuances; teach your pupils the correct use of the apostrophe, comma’s, the capital letter and the full stop and you will be half way to getting them on the right track. In particular, apostrophes can be very troublesome indeed.

Once they have the basics of grammar mastered the trick is to bring out the inner self; set them a task that involves describing something very ordinary – a picture, a scene, an incident – and tell them to write about it in their own manner. This will enable them to nurture their style and keep on the right track.

An important thing to remember is that, grammar aside, there is no right and wrong with writing. You may not like the way a pupil writes, but others will – do not stifle creativity, encourage individuality and bring forth the original.

How to use literature for teaching a language


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How to use literature for teaching a language
Literature in teaching a language can be seen as a great motivational tool for stimulating your students' interest in learning a language. Especially, teaching complicated business terms and topics with integrating moving extracts from the classical literature or short stories gives a refreshing break for learners. It provides all components for ‘development of communicative approach such as grammatical, sociolinguistics, discourse and strategic principles' (Canale and Swain : 1995) and extends learner's area of expertise in many different areas of life.

Case-studies are widely used for teaching Business English at more advanced levels, they describe the situations of fictitious companies and offer some follow-up exercises, quizzes, pair work activities, etc. However, reading cases makes students feel bored and apathetic of colorless language and predictable outcomes. Finally, it can end up with boredom and waste of time both for teacher and students as it lacks imagination, authenticity and ‘sufficient information to make a sound decision.' (M. Shepard, G. Goldsby and W. Gerde : 1997).

According to Davies (1991) communicative competence is based on historical, practical, effective and contextual understanding. Therefore, in comparison to case-studies, novels and stories present real characters with their personal qualities, beliefs and attitudes. They are placed at the specific time, act at the specific place and are surrounded by real people. As a result, students have a clear understanding of context, some knowledge of culture and history that help them to create a genuine interest in the story.


Integrating fiction into the teaching process requires some preparation for a language teacher. First, teacher needs to consider what novels and stories to choose as  ‘the first merit which attracts in the pages of a good writer… are the words employed by finest meaning and distinctions, primal energy, a drum to rouse the passions' (W. Strunk : 1959). The best choice could be classical novels and extracts from recent bestsellers where ‘the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily'. To begin with Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and Joanne Rowling and then to decide what is most appealing and most appropriate for your students' needs.

Second, incorporate fiction into syllabi, prepare exercises or use ready-to-use worksheets from the net. For example, teaching ‘Money and Markets' can be enriched by reading a novel ‘A Note of Admiration' by Oscar Wilde. It is an excellent piece of writing where you can find some terms of a financial market, a moving plot and interesting topics for further discussions. Before reading the novel, you can make a brief presentation about the writer by showing some pictures and displaying his famous quotations, such as ‘loving oneself is a long lasting romance' or ‘one either can be a piece of art or wear a piece of art', etc.


Third, devise some vocabulary matching exercises as some words in the novel are old-fashioned and some are financial terms. After that, let students read the novel for a few minutes and scan for answers to specific questions. For example, they could be general questions, like ‘What happened in the story?' or ‘Who is a model of admiration in the novel?' Then, focus your students' attention on skimming of the first paragraph and the last paragraph as they contain the most important ideas of the novel.

Sample questions:
  1. What is the privilege of the rich and being wealthy?
  2. How did Hughie look?
  3. What did he live on?
  4. How long did he work on the Stock Exchange?
  5. Why was he called a butterfly on the Stock Exchange?
  6. What did Baron Hausberg send to Hugie?
  7. Who made a speech at the breakfast?
  8. What does a ‘model person' mean?
Next, concentrate on a detailed analysis of the text by giving a reading test with four choices. It will help students to read thoroughly and understand the context deeply.
At this stage of reading, encourage your students to ask questions about the story, explain idioms, phrasal verbs and collocations. Finally, review and correct the answers with further follow-up discussions on the novel. For the next class, students can write an essay about the novel or prepare for a class debate. Essay and debate questions may be statements from the text such as ‘Men who are dandies and women who are darlings rule the world' or ‘Our business is to realize the world as we see it, not to reform it as we know it'.
To sum up, keeping in mind Saville-Troike's (1982) the most comprehensive definition of the speaker's competence in ‘certain settings' teachers may apply it to teaching a language through best fiction samples as they provide models for ‘appropriate non-verbal behaviors in various contexts, the routines for turn-taking in conversation … and other communicative dimensions in particular social settings'.  




A Bestselling Writer & Acclaimed Writing Coach Shares Her #1 Tip for Getting Started and Avoiding Writer's Block

Google the phrase sloppy letter and diatribes against the practice of careless correspondence pop up. So it will probably come as a surprise to learn that bestselling writer Linden Gross advises all her writing coach clients to write her sloppy letters. "The sloppier, the better," she says.


"Most writers are so concerned about the quality of their work that the quality of their work suffers," says Gross, who draws on her background in editing, writing and teaching when working with others. "Ideas and creativity don't flow in the face of self-criticism. And how do you discover your own voice if you're constantly judging its flaws? All that spawns is doubt and eventually immobilization and writer's block. The Sloppy Letter to Linden diffuses all those self-imposed constraints."

The rules are simple. Clients can't worry about spelling, grammar, language, sentence structure, repetition, logic or anything else. They just write as fast and as long as they want, or until they've brought Linden up to speed about themselves and their project, including why it's important to them, what they're trying to say and/or accomplish, and any other background information that might be helpful.


Some people finish this brain dump in less than an hour. Others work on it for months. "Whether they wind up with whole chunks of prose that drop right into their manuscripts, find the voice they've spent months or years struggling to cultivate, or simply relax, without exception writers find the exercise liberating," says Gross. "After all, how can you sweat something that's supposed to be sloppy?
"Try the sloppy letter exercise the next time you need to jumpstart—or restart—your writing," she adds. "Or join the growing number of writers who are turning to writing coaches for help."

People often assume that hiring a writing coach implies that they're incapable of writing on their own and need hand-holding. That may be true, and there's nothing wrong with that. But a writing coach relationship extends way beyond encouraging aspiring or veteran writers, holding them accountable or even teaching them about the craft of writing. It's like having a partner on their creative team who has managed to retain the perspective that can so easily be lost when immersed in a big project. Writers are in the trees by definition. A writing coach still has a sense of the forest as a whole.


"Most writers are so concerned about the quality of their work that the quality of their work suffers," says Gross, who draws on her background in editing, writing and teaching when working with others. "Ideas and creativity don't flow in the face of self-criticism. And how do you discover your own voice if you're constantly judging its flaws? All that spawns is doubt and eventually immobilization and writer's block. The Sloppy Letter to Linden diffuses all those self-imposed constraints."

The rules are simple. Clients can't worry about spelling, grammar, language, sentence structure, repetition, logic or anything else. They just write as fast and as long as they want, or until they've brought Linden up to speed about themselves and their project, including why it's important to them, what they're trying to say and/or accomplish, and any other background information that might be helpful.

Some people finish this brain dump in less than an hour. Others work on it for months. "Whether they wind up with whole chunks of prose that drop right into their manuscripts, find the voice they've spent months or years struggling to cultivate, or simply relax, without exception writers find the exercise liberating," says Gross. "After all, how can you sweat something that's supposed to be sloppy?

"Try the sloppy letter exercise the next time you need to jumpstart—or restart—your writing," she adds. "Or join the growing number of writers who are turning to writing coaches for help."
People often assume that hiring a writing coach implies that they're incapable of writing on their own and need hand-holding. That may be true, and there's nothing wrong with that. But a writing coach relationship extends way beyond encouraging aspiring or veteran writers, holding them accountable or even teaching them about the craft of writing. It's like having a partner on their creative team who has managed to retain the perspective that can so easily be lost when immersed in a big project. Writers are in the trees by definition. A writing coach still has a sense of the forest as a whole.

"To choose a writing coach who will work for you, first find one who shares your vision," says Gross. "Second, find a writing coach who fulfills your needs. Just as no two writers work the same way, writing coaches have different styles. Some writing coaches don't even read what their clients write, which puzzles me to no end. That's like writing about food you never taste."
Gross does more than read her clients' work. She offers a willing ear, feedback, encouragement and when absolutely necessary a reality check. And though each writer has his or her strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed in a manner befitting the person and the situation, there's one piece of advice that she gives every writer: Quit judging yourself and your work so harshly.

Online Writing Courses Can Teach You How To Make Money Writing


Online Writing Courses Can Teach You How To Make Money Writing

“How much money can I make as a freelance writer?”

There is money to be made all around you as a freelance writer. Magazine article writing, Work for hire projects, Speech writing, Copy writing, Teaching writing, Writing books, the list goes on and on. The question should be, “How can ‘I’ make money as a freelance writer?”


http://blocs.xtec.cat/gemmasalvia1213/files/2012/08/writing.jpgStart out by assessing your current skills and interests as a writer. Look around. What do you know? Do you have a skill as a writer that would be useful to others? Is there a topic that you could write about and publish as an e-book on the internet? Do you have writing skills that local businesses could use? Is there some aspect of writing that you could teach others?

Don’t limit yourself to one source of income. One of the biggest obstacles that I see when people are learning how to be a freelance writer is that they often only consider one avenue for income. They often think that the only way to make money is by having a book published. Nothing could be further from the truth.


One full time writer that I know has several books published. She receives royalty checks for those books and receives advances on new books that she is writing. Even so, about half of her annual income comes from editing other people’s work and doing write-for-hire projects for local businesses.

Even successful, published authors have multiple sources of income.

Sit down today and make a list of all of the ways that you could make money with your writing. Once you’ve completed the list, take a look at some of the online writing courses being offered that could help you to hone your skills as a writer or learn the business side of things. Find some courses that can help you fill gaps in your skills or understanding.

Invest in yourself then take some action toward getting some work as a writer. The sky’s the limit as to how much money you can make as a freelance writer.