Authors write to be heard. They write so that others will be changed by what they have written. They write to entertain others. But in so many classrooms across the country, children are being asked to write and never given the opportunity to share what they have written. They aren't given a chance to entertain or change others-they aren't given an audience for their amazing work.
We as teachers need to make sure that kids get a chance to share what they have written- to talk about their ideas with the other "authors" in their classroom. I know what you are thinking, "There is no timeI I want kids to share their work, but the time gets away from us and we are out the door to recess, lunch or dismissal before I know it!" No more excuses we need to make time.
When kids are given the opportunity to share their written work, they learn to write for a particular audience, they get feedback, they learn not to fear putting their thoughts and ideas out into the world. They inspire others to write more and to strive for the "attention" that sharing brings. They get to share the stories of their lives and get to know each other-thus building amazing community in the classroom.
Our typical share is to have the kids gather on the rug and have a writer or two a day sit in the author's chair and read aloud their work to the group. Usually I have the author tell a bit about why they wrote the piece and if they are looking for any help from their fellow writers. After they have read the piece aloud we always give them a great compliment on what we noticed they are doing well as a writer and then we make sure to ask them a question or two about their writing. These questions help the writer clarify confusing parts or add more to their writing.
Other ways to provide sharing time might include:
- Share your children's writing pieces throughout other parts of the day.
- Stop students for a quick listening break during writing time, inviting the author you are conferring with to read a brief part that really works in their writing
- Hold a gallery share where each writer leaves their work out on the tables and students walk around to check out each other's work
- Each child pop up and share a favorite sentence or line from their writing that day
- Each child reads their work to the person sitting closest to them
So, make it one of your goals to leave a little time every day for a least one child in your classroom to share their written work with someone else. Whether it is one on one with another student, sharing with the whole class or a small group of authors, sharing it with a teacher while you confer with them or just having them quickly share a favorite sentence at the end of writing time-let them share! The results are well worth the effort!