National Writing Project

The Writer Within

By: Lynn Mondello Caggiago
Publication: Teaching Pre K-8
Date: November 2007

Summary: New Jersey teacher-consultant Lynn Caggiago describes a process that moves reluctant writers—from drawings that describe recent events in their lives, to written descriptions of these drawings, and finally to descriptions of each other's drawings.



Soon, I upped the ante. Now, I told my students that their pictures should include enough details that a partner could write their journal for them. Partners were not allowed to write any words that were not represented in the picture. So, for example, if David's picture represented him eating at a restaurant with his friend Chris, but didn't clearly show what the pair was eating, David's partner couldn't elaborate on what they ate. Instead, he would have to stick to something general, such as, "They ate at Pizza Hut." But, if David's illustration clearly showed the boys gobbling pepperoni slices, then that detail could be phrased and added. This exercise really helped each student see what kinds of details were most helpful in describing a scene or event.

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Read "The Writer Within" in Teaching Pre K-8.

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