Writing For Kids & Staying Current On Research
February 12, 2010
As an educator and also a children’s writer, I have found it important in my own writing process to stay in touch with things happening in the schools, libraries and homes of children. It’s easy, in the quest to “get published” to sway your writing towards what you think a publisher or editor might actually want to buy, rather than staying the course and writing what you know kids want and need. We have to remember who our audience ultimately is and trust ourselves to write or illustrate from that knowledge.
One way I stay connected, since I’m not working in a classroom right now, is to keep my membership current on organizations that compliment my writing pursuits. I frequently visit websites of several education associations, subscribe to education journals and follow the groups on Twitter. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is one I always stay connected with, as is National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
For artists, there’s also the National Art Education Association. They have a really excellent website that always offers me something new to learn. This is also a great site for parents because it offers many ideas for artistic activities with kids.
There are many more organizations that can provide knowledge as well as inspiration to children’s writers and illustrators, and while it’s certainly not a required thing to do, I’ve found it helps me keep in touch with learning trends, classroom needs and the latest research related to both. I think this knowledge also helps make me a better writer for children — and, after all, they are the ones for whom we write!