4 Ways to Bring Audience into the Writing Classroom

Engaging students in writing for a real audience and purpose is motivating, AND it enhances the QUALITY of student writing (Purcell-Gates, Duke & Martineau, 2007; Block, 2013). The questions busy teachers ask are:

  • How do I bring audience and purpose into a standards-driven classroom?
  • How do I connect my students to readers beyond my classroom walls?

To get started, here are four powerful ways to engage students in writing to CCSS expectations for a real audience and purpose.

1.    Write for Real People in the School

The easiest way to write for a real audience is to write for other students, parents or adults in the school community.  Write information texts to teach parents or a younger class about specific content knowledge.  Write stories to entertain and build connections across diverse families.  Write arguments to convince students, parents or the school board to make a positive change for the school.

2. Submit Writing to a Literary Journal

These two magazines for kids are a great source of high-quality mentor texts for teaching writing, and offer young authors an opportunity to submit work for publication:

Stone Soup Magazine accepts submissions for stories, poems, and book reviews by kids up to age 13. Young illustrators can also apply to illustrate other students’ writing.

Creative Kids Magazine welcomes submissions in multiple genres including stories between 500 and 1200 words, editorials, poetry, cartoons and plays from writers 8 to16 years old.

3. Publish Student Blogs

A blog is a great platform for publishing opinions, narratives and students’ informational writing to either a general or targeted audience.  With education-specific platforms such as www.kidblog.org and www.edublogs.org, teachers can control privacy settings and review student posts and comments before publication.

4. Collaborate across Classrooms with QuadBlogging

At this QuadBlogging link, network with four classrooms to take turns publishing and responding to student blog posts. Each week a different classroom is in the limelight publishing work for the other three to read and discuss via online comments. Engage students in blogging text types, tasks and topics that align with your curriculum to inform, entertain or convince real student audiences.

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How are you engaging students in writing for a real audience and purpose?  What ideas and resources do you recommend for your colleagues who teach writing?

I lead professional learning and design curriculum to realize the vision that every kindergartener who enters public schools will graduate high-school prepared to thrive in a changing world.

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