My ideas come from everywhere—the landscape, something I hear on the radio or from a book I’m reading.- Melissa Sweet

Something I didn’t realize until I started this project is that ideas are included in that big polka-dotted umbrella step of the writing process called prewriting, and that the gurus consider prewriting to be the place where you spend most of your time in the writing process. I should have realized this considering how much time I spend reading enticing words over and over or composing introductions to blog posts in my mind while running in the rain. This is the stuff of prewriting… Never have I successfully sat down to write anything by first listing what happened at the beginning, the middle and the end. From here on out when I refer to ‘prewriting,’ I am including the concept of ideas (for writing).

We want students to discover a writing process that works for them. What are some of the different ways that we can share with them about the process of prewriting?


  • Show students how to use a writer’s notebook: Record details from their lives, make lists of topics they are interested in, ask questions (what if…?), write down favorite words or lines from a book, make a timeline of events
  • Write with them
  • Give opportunities to take photographs or sketch ideas
  • Share examples of how authors and illustrators go through the creative process: For example, David Wiesner talks about how he get the idea for Art & Max  and  An interview with Melissa Sweet
  • Encourage them to talk with us or their classmates/ friends about something they want to write
  • Provide them with HELPFUL organizers (not mandated ones)
  • Read, read, read, read, read, read, read!




About erica banks krug

I live in Wisconsin. I love cooking, eating kale, taking photographs, road trips and the Packers. I used to ride a ski lift to work. Now I work as a substitute teacher. But I dream of being able to call myself a "writer." You have to start somewhere....
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One Response to Prewriting

  1. Susan F. says:

    The way you led us through thinking about how we generate ideas and what kind of pre-writing we actually do, but do not impart to our students created a wobble. It got us thinking, “Are we burdening our students just to get them through a routine or are we helping them?”

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