How to Start a Creative Writing Club for Kids

When school started last year, I got the crazy idea that the students at my daughter’s elementary school might like a forum in which to do creative writing. Although they get some in the classroom, I was thinking of a completely non-judgmental environment where I guide them but they ultimately do what they want, where there are no wrong answers or points off for misspelling a word. Really, I wanted for them the kind of club I would have loved myself as a child.

I pitched the idea to a friend of mine, a professor of creative writing, who very graciously shared with me exercises she does with her grad students. It took some work but I brought them down to a level I thought would work with 4th-6th graders.

Next I had to get buy in from the school principal to run an after school club and use the library. She loved the idea but reminded me I needed a ‘baby sitter’ because I’m not a credentialed teacher. The librarian agreed to keep me on the straight and narrow and I promised to keep his library in good working order.

From there, I got myself invited to a PTA meeting to see if they would throw me some funds to run the club. Really all I wanted were notebooks, pencils and a few other little things here and there to help with the writing exercises. They said yes and I was off.

We meet once a month for an hour. We have two rules for Writing Club. The first is we are respectful of everyone’s ideas; if a fellow student is reading his/her work aloud, we are quiet and listen closely. The second is no one has to read if they don’t want to. No pressure. I also give away middle grade books I’m done reading. Winners beam like they’ve just won the lottery.

September’s giveaway books

At our first meeting this year fifty students showed up! I ran out of everything – notebooks, pencils, seats, table space – but seeing these kids, scribbling away, giving voice to the stories in their heads, gave me hope for the future.

(for specifics on the writing exercises, please visit my website)

 

Beth McMullen

3 responses to “How to Start a Creative Writing Club for Kids

  1. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  2. 50!!! Wow! That gives me hope for the future, too. I am so crazy busy this year but would love to do host a NaNoWriMo group for our middle school students. Maybe I should do it a different time of year and follow your lead. Thanks for the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  3. Absolutely love your idea and your website describing how you present the writing program. If I were a kid again, I would run to get to the head of line for your program. Thank you for teaching.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *