Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Teach Children to Free Write

Every writing teacher I have ever known always sets aside a time for students to free write. At first it can seem daunting because of the "fear" factor. Our fingers become all twisted up right along with our tongue and brain.

I ran across this great article by Dianne Dachyshyn, who dispels the difficulties of writing "cold turkey".


When it comes to writing, starting is the hardest part, but free writing makes it so much easier! Even with a chosen topic, a blank page or computer screen can be discouraging. Free writing will get kids past the blank page.

I make myself and my students free write because it is the easiest and best creative writing idea out there. Many professionals prefer to jump start their imaginations this way. It is also called quick, madman or practice writing.

The first time you ask children to do this, they will stare incredulously and grumble. They will be hard pressed to meet the time requirement of three minutes. However, after a regular discipline of free writing, they will begin to enjoy this time and it is amazing what they can produce. I often have to force them to stop at the end of ten minutes.

The rules for free writing:

1. Write quickly and uncritically. Aim for quantity, not quality.
2. You must write for the mandatory time period (begin with 3 minutes and work up to 10). There is no need for a topic. Begin writing. Do not think of what to write. It doesn't matter. It's the process, not the product that is important.
3. Your hand must be moving the entire time and you are not allowed to talk. Not even a peep

To read the rest of the article click here

Dianne Dachyshyn is available to speak to groups on the topics of homeschooling and teaching writing. She can be reached at

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