Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing Is Visual

When we walk into a bookstore to select a new book to read, one of the first things we do is look at the cover. IF the cover LOOKS enticing, we might take the time to pick the book up off the shelf and take a quick flip through the pages. IF the pages LOOK decent, THEN we might read the blurb. Visual presentation is a KEY to good writing.

So, one of the things that I teach my kids is that the writing they create throughout the year needs to be visually appealing. I tell them, “No one is going to stop and read what you wrote, if they do not think it LOOKS good.” I also tell them, “The main purpose of WRITING is READING. People write so that others will read it.” These statements help to get students to really appreciate neatness in their handwriting and visual presentation. No more paperwork is turned in to me on half sheets of paper nor homework with last night's dinner on it. It also gets them to connect reading and writing and understand that they go hand in hand: Readers are Writers, and Writers are Readers. Here’s a simple, but perfect example of two title pages for the same book side by side. Which one are you going to pick up and read?
 I find that getting kids to pay attention to what their writing looks like helps to motivate them as writers. A lot of kids appeal to their visual senses, and this is a way to get them to do it in their writing. We spend a lot of time looking at different book covers and discussing what works and what doesn't. We also compare different covers of the same book. Then the kids take what they have learned and apply it to their own published pieces.

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