From Cloned Thoughts to Passionate Voices


How to engage young writers, to penetrate these developing minds. The thoughts in the boxes are my own (though not necessarily original). They came back to me as I read Nonfiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and Research in Grades 3-8, from which I took all the quotes.



Getting In There

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My physical agility was crippled by insecurity and a paralyzing fear of getting hit in the face. So now I’m sitting in the backseat with Charley, claiming more to myself than anyone,¬†“I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”

So here’s what I tell my children: wait for the pitch you want to hit, not for the pitch that might hit you. It’s not that I want them to get hit by a hard ball: but it’s going to happen. If you stand in the batter’s box long enough, you’ll get hit.

Failure and fear and the fear of failure are part of life. I have a folder full of rejection slips from writing I have submitted. Had any of these stopped me, I would have no successes. And I wouldn’t be near the teacher of writing I am.