Wordtamer – Activities to Inspire Creative Thinking and Writing24.99
- Relatable to anyone who has taught in schools as the author draws upon real-life experiences with children in both primary and secondary.
- Laced with helpful activities, this book allows you to immerse yourself as a learner as well as a practitioner.
- Broken down into easy accessible sections which can be read as stand-alone.
- Gives you an insight into the mind of a published children’s author and her thought processes.
- Provides a variety of resources and activities, throughout the book and online, that can be used in the classroom to guide both teachers and pupils.
Review compiled by: Portia Anane-Busia
There were a number of aspects of this book that resonated with me as a teacher. While flicking through the chapters, there were several moments where I travelled back to my classroom and remembered a time where a child had said or done something similar to what Judy Waite was describing. Particularly the ‘disconnection’ that some children seem to have as soon as they’re asked to put pen to paper.
Judy makes several references throughout her book to allowing creativity to flow. She questions the artistic writing skills of the educators who are teaching creative writing. Do they understand and appreciate the imaginative writing process or are they bogged down in looking for spelling and punctuation mistakes because that is what they know or have been told to look for? This book, while not denying the need to educate children in how to use SPAG and the like, encourages teachers to foster an engaging, but purposeful, environment which enhances children’s writing experiences and allows their ‘stories to matter’.
Waite draws on her many years as an author, lecturer and workshop facilitator to delve into the measurable impact that creative writing can have on children’s imaginations and the empowerment that they get from being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas to a reader. Throughout the book, she makes references to using her own life experiences to inspire and guide children through different processes and refers to creative writing as being a ‘messy’ approach that communicates ideas through words on a page. If you’ve been teaching for a while, then you may have come across a number of the ideas in this book already. For example: scrapbooks, dabbling, notebooks, role play, mood boxes, hot seating and imagery. However, what Waite does is offer these ideas in a slightly different context which allows you to think about applying these techniques in various ways.
The way that Waite describes creative writing inspires you as a reader to pick up a pen or tap away at your screen to complete an activity. She takes writing away from being a chore, not just for children, into a realm of what could be. We all get bogged down at some point with the semantics of writing (cue me checking my sentences repeatedly and questioning whether I’m making any sense). Yet, Waite suggests many ways in which to enable children to include all the technical aspects of writing, but still make the writing experience meaningful and long-lasting for each child.
I think the most useful parts of this book for me, were Waite’s anecdotes of how her own personal experiences in life and as an author have shaped some of her writing. It’s ok to bench an idea to focus on another; it’s ok to be silent and daydream while your mind wanders off into other realms, plots and characters; and it’s ok to scribble and make notes or drawings. Authors work in different ways, our minds all work in different ways. Therefore, to facilitate creative writing in school we need to share many examples of what ‘good’ writing is, allow time for ideas to develop (within reason) and help children to find their own author voice. This book has provided me with a range of activities which I can use over and over again to help inspire future authors, teachers, policemen, film producers, coders…
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