You co-founded 826 National, an organization dedicated to motivating young people to write. Was there a particular book that motivated you? A book that you find often motivates the children you work with?
The greatest motivator for a kid to write, I think, is having an encouraging and open-minded reader. At 826, we train our tutors to be encouraging of young writers, no matter how unusual the subject matter or where their writing skills are. The two things that stunt kids more than anything else are 1) the fear that whatever they want to write about won’t be acceptable, or 2) that their first drafts have to be perfect. Kids have to know, without a doubt, that writing about anything, even flatulent hamsters, is O.K., and that writing can and should be fun at that age. But when you say, your paper has to be five paragraphs long, this many sentences per paragraph, and about “appropriate” subject matter, then you’re guaranteeing paralysis from young writers. You’ve got to remove the tethers to get them started. Then you can get at the grammar on the back end.
So proud that my wife works for 826!
Source: The New York Times
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