Beginning writers

Writing is a skill that requires daily practice! These simple journal prompts are designed to help BEGINNING and/or STRUGGLING writers build confidence, practice articulating thoughts, work on fine motor skills and proper letter formation. GRAB THE BUNDLE HEREIncluded in the BUNDLEJANUARYFEBRUARYMARCHAPRILMAYJUNEJULYAUGUSTSEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBERDECEMBERThis October NO PREP Packet includes the following:Four versions of the journal prompts*21 journal prompts with a starter phrase*21 of the same

Sentence Starters for Beginning Writers

Working with Beginning Writers

Inspiring children to write can be difficult. Before I even begin the year with my new first-graders, I can hear their complaints and see the fear on their faces. "I don’t know how to spell"; "I don’t have anything to write about"; "My story is not good," they say, their eyes filling with tears.

I want a classroom of writers. I want them to come into the room excited and full of stories that they must tell . . . now! I want them to become process writers and not just product writers. I want them to enjoy the process, to understand the steps, and to want to write.

As I look out over the sea of new faces each year, I realize that it doesn’t matter if it is a first grade class or a middle school class; the faces are the same. All are afraid of rejection by their peers; all are afraid of failure.

Teachers often ask me, "So how do you get your students to write?" I have asked myself the same question. And while I believe that it is important to get the students to write, it is equally important to get them to want to write and to see its value.

To Beginning Writers

If you like audio, I have also spoken to audiences about my own experiences in science writing.

From time to time, I get letters from people thinking seriously about becoming science writers. Some have no idea how to start; some have started but want to know how to get better. At first I responded to these requests with hasty emails, so that I could get back to figuring out for myself how to be a science writer. But then I thought it would be better for everyone — the people contacting me and myself — to sit down and write out a thorough response. I first wrote this essay back in 2013, and I’ve updated it a little from time to time.

But first a caveat. I may be the wrong person to ask for this advice. I stumbled into this line of work without any proper planning in the early 1990s, when journalism was a very different industry. The question “How do I become a science writer?” is not equivalent to “How did you become a science writer?”

While I didn’t know I wanted to write about science, I have written for as long as I can remember. I was the sort of kid who wrote stories, cartoons, and failed imitations of Watership Down. By college, I was working on both fiction and nonfiction, majoring in English to learn from great writers while trying to avoid getting sucked into the self-annihilating maze of literary theory. After college, I spent a couple years at various jobs while writing short stories on my own, but I gradually realized I didn’t have enough in my brain yet to put on the page.

In 1989 I wrote to some magazines to see if they had any openings for entry-level jobs. I got a response from Discover, saying they needed an assistant copy editor. I got the job but turned out to be a less-than-perfect copy editor, which means that I was a terrible copy editor. Fortunately, by then my editors had let me start to fact-check stories, which is arguably the best way to learn how to write about science. I then got a chance to write short pieces.

At some point, I realized this was an experience unlike any previous writing I had done. In nature, I was discovering strangeness beyond my own imagining. And scientists were willing to help me understand their discoveries, in long conversations over the phone or visits to their labs and field sites.

In other words, I did not know in college that I wanted to be a science writer. I didn’t prepare for the career by taking a lot of science classes or going to graduate school for science journalism. I can only take credit for being able to recognize when I fell into a deeply satisfying kind of work.

That’s one reason to take my advice with a grain of salt. Another reason is the fact that for the first five years of my career, I did not have access to the Internet. I did not have email. At the time, magazine publishers did not see the point of rigging their computers to telephone wires.

This was an age when magazines and newspapers held a near-monopolistic control over science writing. The only alternatives were crudely printed zines, which attracted only a tiny fraction of the circulation of large magazines and none of their big-ticket advertisers.

All of that has changed, of course. It took a very long time for many in the science writing world to realize that change was coming, and many tried to ignore it once it had arrived. Just as I had stumbled into science writing, I stumbled into its online world. In the early 2000s I began enjoying the handful of blogs about science. At the time, I had been writing essays for Natural History. When they stopped running essays, I decided to set up a blog where I didn’t have to pitch ideas to anyone beside myself.

In 2004, when I began blogging, many professional journalists looked at it as an odd distraction from real work. Along with everyone else, I had no idea that it would end up at the heart of science journalism. I also didn’t realize that traditional science journalism—and journalism in general—was undergoing a drastic change. Depending on who you talk to, a better word might be metamorphosis. Or collapse.

And so, while I personally feel very lucky to have ended up making a living as a science writer, I am very cautious in recommending it to others as a line of work. I still find science writing wonderful after three decades, but the industry is full of upheaval and uncertainty. If you have decided that you want to become a science writer, make sure that your impression of the field is accurate. If you have a hazy sense of journalism as it was circa 1990, then you have to update your perceptions.

American newspapers enjoyed a great boom after the end of World War II, but that boom crested around 1990, and newspapers now employ fewer people than they did in 1950. During the boom years, newspapers hired lots of science writers for weekly science sections. At their peak, in 1989, there were 95 in the United States. By 2013, they were down to 19. When newspapers make cuts to shore up their profits, the science section is often the first to go.


If you are looking for writing activities for your beginning writers, you have come to the right place! This resource includes 64 all year round writing paper sheets which help children learn to write complete sentences in a guided way.The 16 templates come in 4 versions to enable you to differentiate the activity according to your students’ needs. 2 versions contain writing prompts (sentence starters) while the others do not so as to enable independent writing. 2 versions also come with a wr

Daily Writing Journal Pages for Beginning Writers: WHOLE YEAR

Daily Writing Journal Pages for Beginning Writers: WHOLE YEAR

This is a bundle of pages that cover the entire school year (Sept-May) of Daily Writing Journal Pages for Beginning Writers (also sold separately). It saves $11 over purchasing separately and includes: 189 kid-friendly writing prompt pages189 pages without the sentence starter for higher-level writers189 interactive notebook writing promptsBuild confidence in your emergent and beginning writers with these journal pages and prompts. Each page can be used three ways: 1. As a stand-alone writing ac

Kindergarten Picture Writing Prompts with Sentence Starters Complete Bundle


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