Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reaching Readers: Through Writing Workshops For Kids

Girl Scouts passing a summer day at camp with a zany writing experiment

Not all readers are writers (though I would argue that all writers are readers!), but many kids do become more interested in books when they develop their own passion for storytelling.

I've been having a blast this year leading writing workshops with the Girl Scout Council of Eastern Massachusetts and thought I would share one of our more popular writing prompts.

We call this one "What the Heck is Happening Here!?" I pass out printed (and laminated) pictures I've collected from the internet (the stranger, the better and the internet is the perfect source for strange! You can find your own simply by googling "weird images".)

Sometimes kids will choose to work together on a story based on the photo and other times they'll prefer to work alone--I say yes to any and all requests. My goal here is to make the atmosphere as different from a school environment as possible. I let them know upfront there will be no grades, no one checking spelling or grammar, and no rules on what they can write so long as they keep it PG-rated). While I encourage sharing aloud at the end (and offer to act as reader if the person wants to share but is to shy to read), I never require it because I know my nine year-old self would have been mortified at that prospect.

Ready for some crazy? Here are a few pictures to get you started, if you'd like to try this one at home with your own mini-readers.

This is the ultimate in commuter multi-tasking

Umm... I can't even....

Cat-Tain America?

He just looks so happy with his sewing machine prom date!

Er, this isn't one of the weird pictures. I hope!


  1. I love those crazy images! What great prompts those make! :)

  2. Those are great story inspiration pictures! I bet those kids had tons of fun with them.

  3. That cat is the creepiest thing I've seen in a long while. I predict nightmares.


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