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A Collaborative Writing Experience

A Collaborative Writing Experience

Letter writing is a dying art. And too bad, because it’s a wonderful way to work writing practice into a child’s everyday routine.

Email may have taken over in the letter writing department, but you can still get your regular old mailbox fired up again. Recruit a grandparent, pen pal, or far-off friend and get ready to engage your child in some old-fashioned communication, with a new twist.

Books may seem hopelessly archaic to a second grader weaned on video games and instant messaging. Transform your child from passive observer (reader) into active participant (writer), by giving him a blank book to fill as he sees fit.

What You Need:

Lined paper
Old magazine or newspaper
Glue stick
Envelope and postage stamp
Distant collaborator (grandparent, pen pal, or friend to write to)

What You Do:

The idea is simple: your son or daughter, along with their distant collaborator (grandparent, pen pal, or friend) will co-author their very own novel. Have your child begin the story by writing a page or two.
Next, ask him to cut out a picture from a magazine or newspaper and paste it onto the next empty page.
Provide an envelope and have him send his work-in-progress off to his co-author, who will add to the story, writing their own several pages and in some way, incorporating the pasted image in the process. Then they’ll add their own image and mail it back. Tag, your child is “it” once again!
Repeat the process, and see what zany twists unfold!

The crazier the picture, the more ingenuity will be needed to incorporate it. Perhaps a rhino finds his way into a mystery novel, or a famous politician enters the scene in the midst of an adventure. The element of surprise and the anticipation of waiting for the next installment will add to the fun.

So put the postal service to work. Get your child a blank book and a willing co-author. This activity transforms writing into a grab-bag plot adventure and is sure to get those creative juices flowing!


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