Students Need An Audience For Their Writing

Providing an audience for student writing photoI know that my students are more motivated to write when they know it’s for a “real life” audience – not just me! I’d be the same way, honestly. So far this year, I’ve been conscious of trying to provide my students with real audiences for their writing, making the revision process much less painful and more motivating for them.

This year, I had all students write a personal narrative for a writing contest, the main prize being their work published in an anthology (other school and cash prizes are available to be won as well). They thought it would be pretty cool to see their writing in a book and so I was lucky that they bought in. I’ve had past students enter this writing contest and some of our students always get published and so it’s worth the effort. If you want to check out this particular contest, it’s for K-12 in the US and Canada. As I said, I’ve had multiple students published over the years (which makes a publishing party celebration extra special) but last year I also had a student finish in the Top Ten which was fantastic! For more information, you can visit Poetic Power. 

Currently, my students are completing essays and poems for a local Remembrance Day writing contest and the work that they’ve been doing for this contest has been really well done – which is awesome! For grade 7 students, some of their poems in particular are quite unique! Since they know that their piece will be in front of judges, having them continue to edit, hasn’t been a big deal. I’m sure most communities have similar contests, as well. I don’t always find time to get to this one – but luckily this year, I did! Now we’ll see if anyone gets their work chosen.

Finally, I am a contributor to GlobalTeacherConnect – a one of a kind teacher blog with teacher-authors from all over the globe. I had my grade seven students do the photography and writing for my most recent post, to once again, provide a “real audience” for their writing. They’re quite excited to see if we get any comments on the post – so if you have a minute…it would be much appreciated;)

Writing – especially the revision and editing processes can be time-consuming – and for what? Kids are smart. Where does their writing go after it’s been marked? Home? Their desks? Many don’t think it’s worth the hassle to craft a piece that’s only going to be read by the teacher. Gone are the days of trying to impress the teacher. Yes, there are still some “teacher pleasers” out there who want the approval of the teacher, the pat on the back and the good mark. However, there are more students who want the quickest way to get xyz completed. Period. They can’t be bothered to go back and improve it once they’ve decided it’s done. It’s these students, especially, who’ll benefit from writing opportunities that provide a wider audience than just a single person.

Have a look around your school, community and online. There are LOTS of opportunities out there to give your students a real audience.

Your students could:

-Write a school newspaper

-Write the morning announcements

-Enter writing contests

-Create and judge a writing contest at your school (what a project that would be!)

-Read and comment on blog posts, or write their own posts

-Share their work with the class and parents in a publishing party

-Write a children’s story and share with a younger grade

-Write letters to the editor about local issues (don’t forget to okay with parents)

-Write notes home to parents (fundraising information, school updates etc.) that teachers usually compose

-Maintain a class blog (students can write blog posts, book reviews, or post their own creative writing)

-Start a class Twitter feed and have a student contribute a tweet a day (approved by you first, of course)

-Find a class/school to penpal with

TeenInk is another great option to contribute work to for publishing

-Instead of “book buddies” have shared writing time with another class

Think about writing from the students’ perspective. If you didn’t like writing and found it difficult to begin with, how motivated would you be to revise and edit your work? Even if it meant a higher mark, it’s an awful lot of work to be committed to making a piece of writing stronger.

Make the writing process a little more meaningful, by giving students an audience!


What other ideas can you add to the list of “realistic” writing opportunities?

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About krystalmills

I am a Grade 7 teacher in Prince Edward Island. Lessons From The Middle shares lessons from the classroom, and occasionally from my life as a mom of two young boys. The goal of this Canadian teacher blog is to share middle school lessons, activities and ideas from my classroom and to collaborate with the wonderful online community of teachers out there as well! Thanks for stopping by!   Find me on Facebook Twitter Pinterest Browse my TPT Store Browse my TN Store

Posted on October 27, 2012, in Differentiated instruction, Education, General Teaching, Middle School, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I really appreciate this post, Krystal. I am in my final on-campus semester of teacher training and am in a literacy class for middle schoolers. Your post talks directly to our course content right now. I am making copies of your post to share with my classmates. You can be sure that I’ll be directing them to your blog and encouraging them to follow you. Thanks!

    • Cindy, thanks so much for your comment and your support. Good luck with the final semester of your teacher training. This profession is one of a kind – but I’m sure that you know that.