Do you know a child who avoids classroom writing assignments at all costs but can spend an entire day texting friends or posting status updates? This LearningWorks for Kids article discusses how parents and educators should begin seeing these technologies as tools they can use to help students develop writing skills, rather than as mere distractions from “real” writing. A child who enjoys this form of self-expression can learn to value more rigorous writing exercises as well.
Consider assigning extremely short, unusual pieces alongside more traditional writing instruction. English professor Andy Selsberg offers several interesting ideas (such as “Describe the essence of a chalkboard in one or two sentences”) in his New York Times op-ed “Teaching to the Text Message.” The National Writing Project’s Mozilla Thimble application makes it easy to assign students a six-word memoir. You could also direct students to one of the many apps designed to engage struggling writers in creative expression.