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Creating a Writing Space

After getting such a great response to the blog post about bolstering your in-home library, I decided to keep the theme going this week by writing about in-home writing centers.

My oldest daughter had the idea to create a writing center after seeing the one her first grade teacher created in the classroom. Here is our designated area “before”. This was a drawer in a table in our play area used to store workbooks, coloring books and pencils—not very functional or inspiring.

We made just a few changes to create a space that would not only help the girls write when they want to but potentially prompt them to write new texts and illustrate and compose in new ways. We added a tray to organize writing tools and surfaces (e.g. sticky notes, journals, envelopes) and some bins on top of the table to organize our paper and clipboards, workbooks, sticker books, and blank books (a few pieces of paper folded and stapled).

What tools would your children need to compose? Would a great variety of writing implements (e.g., novelty pencils, gel pens, skinny markers) get them interested?

Would your child need alternatives to the pencil due to physical, sensory, or motor problems? How about putting word magnets, plastic letters, Boardmaker pictures, Scrabble tiles, or even a label maker or old typewriter in your writing center? For more ideas see this post on Spectronics, this one on Learning Mommy, or this one from University of Buffalo’s Assistive Tech Project.

What about writing surfaces? Provide paper, cardboard, notepads, mini-chalkboards, or even electronic “surfaces” like iPad, if possible.

Finally, consider adding a little reminder about how to use the space.

Most families already have some area where kids regularly create, express, write, or scribble. By adding some materials and carving out a drawer, corner, or box just for writing fun, you may find that your children create, express, write or scribble more or potentially with more enthusiasm.

Keep in mind that regular opportunities to write are especially important for children with disabilities who may get fewer opportunities to create without standards, who write or type to communicate, and who need fun ways to try out new adaptive equipment or assistive technology.

What would you put in your home writing center?