Our oldest son is drawn to stories. He loves reading them in books, watching them in movies and hearing them from his parents. Over the past few years, this love for stories has turned into an insatiable desire to create characters and storylines. We love this about him and we want to encourage him to develop his writing abilities. This led us to want to create a writing center with lots of resources to spark his creativity and build good writing habits.
Disclosure: I received product for free and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
As a teacher, I incorporated writing centers into my reading block, but I never thought to make a writing center a part of our homeschool until we started using WriteShop curriculum. A writing center is simply a place or collection of resources you can go to when it’s time to practice your writing skills or, as in our case, when our son’s creative juices are flowing.
WriteShop provides some good direction for putting together your writing center in their teacher’s guides. You really only need to complete three simple steps to create your own home writing center.
Step 1: Determine if you need a portable writing center or if you have room for a permanent space.
You have two options when it comes to creating a writing center. You can set up a permanent writing center or create a portable one. For our family, a portable writing center was the best option. We are currently in transition and we don’t have a lot of space in our current location. Plus, with a little brother around, sometimes you just need to find a quiet space to do your best work.
We decided to create our writing center using a backpack we already had on hand. The backpack offers an ample supply of room and pockets to store a variety of things.
Backpack not what you had in mind? No worries. I put together a Pinterest Board full of some other great permanent and portable options.
Step 2: Stock your writing center with supplies.
In order to create stories, every good writer needs tools. For our son, his writing often begins with a character he’s created in his mind. He’ll draw and color a picture of the character while he begins to develop a story. To help our son bring his character’s story to life we’ve made sure to stock our writing center with a variety of paper, pencils, and markers.
To help him refine his writing into a finished product, we’ve also included a zipper pouch with a few highlighters, colored pencils, sticky notes and correction tape. He can use them to mark up his work as he reviews it before making edits to produce a finished product.
Something not stored in our writing center, but often utilized is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary App on his Kindle Fire. A good dictionary and thesaurus are a must for any writer.
Step 3: Fill Your Writing Center with Inspiration.
Most of the time, our son doesn’t need any inspirational items to ignite his next story. Yet there have been times when he really wants to write, but lacks the creative spark. For those times we’ve gathered some helpful resources from WriteShop that he can have right at his fingertips, such as:
- Writing Prompts – I offer a few free writing prompts, and WriteShop is always sharing free writing prompts through their blog. You’ll find monthly calendars, picture prompts and topical prompts.
You can also sign up for their e-newsletter and get their Journal All Year! Writing Prompt Calendar Bundle for FREE! This bundle includes a total of 480 writing and essay prompts to inspire both elementary and teen students for an entire calendar year! Click the image below to get this free offer. (Please be aware, this freebie is only a limited time offer.)
- StoryBuilders – These fun, interactive tools use stacks of cards to help a student randomly select the basic elements of their story including the character, setting, and plot. You’re guaranteed to have a unique story every time.
- Junior Writer’s Notebook – This printable download guides students through writing in different genres and forms and can help them generate new ideas that might develop into complete stories.
Not only do these items kickstart my son’s writing, they also help him consider new genres and writing formats. Afterall, not every story can be about a group of elementary-aged friends who turn into superheroes.
It doesn’t take much to put together a writing center that works for your student. Just start with what you already have in your home and add to it when you see something you like. The key is to find things that will make writing fun and fresh every day.
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