Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) exists to celebrate and amplify youth voices through
the cultivation of reading and writing skills via joy, creativity, equity, and access.
To help us all stay creative while we are at home, RAWK has created a writing project for all students PreK-12th grade and their families. Below is the outline of the project and fun writing prompts to inspire students and families in sharing stories. When we are able to go back to our literacy center on Westnedge, RAWK staff will compile all submissions from YOU and publish them into an anthology.
To submit your story(ies) for publication, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, please include author’s age and school and/or town. If you do not have access to email right now, you can mail it to us at 802 S. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49001. If you are able, head to readandwritekzoo.org to follow the publication process and see some of the submissions shared online. We are on Facebook and Instagram, too!
A NOTE FOR STUDENTS
Hello RAWKstars! We hope you are all settling in, taking care, and staying creative during the school closure! We’re all in the same situation. Stuck at home, missing our school routines, and our friends. And we don’t know what to expect next, so we have to wait. Now is a great time to write and create, of course! Not only will you keep your skills sharp, but writing about these uncertain times could help get through these next few weeks with kindness, empathy, and gratitude. Take a look at our prompts on the next page, grab some paper, or a computer and just start to write. If you’d like, work with whoever you are at home with to create together!
A NOTE FOR CAREGIVERS
The Quarantine Project (QAP) is not a substitute for students’ regular literacy instruction and it is not required by anyone. The goal is to provide students and their families with opportunities through creative writing to process, reflect, and cope with the effects of the COVID-19 quarantine on their day to day lives, as well as to provide an outlet for students’ experiences in their own voices through the publication of their writing. Take a look at the prompts on the next page with your student(s), grab some paper or a computer and start to write!
Here are RAWK’s best practices for writing with young students in fun and creative ways for caregivers:
- Keep it positive! Praise them for their writing and let them know what you love about their work.
- Write with them and tell stories together or tell your own!
- Start slowly with reluctant writers with the intention of doing a little everyday. Read their energy, using positive reinforcement to encourage continuing interest and growth in their writing.
- Use the writing process: Brainstorm - Draft - Revise.
- Make the writing a project. Utilize different writing sessions and take lots of notes while developing characters, establishing settings, and formulate plots.
- Be a writing partner. Don’t worry about trying to be a teacher.
- Work together to create daily writing goals, and if rewards help in accomplishing those goals, work together to create reasonable writing rewards with your student(s).
- Work together to develop writing routines and agendas with exercises, habits, and/or schedules that get you and your student ready to write.
- Don’t worry about making mistakes, but don’t be afraid to make necessary changes or corrections.
- If your student is still learning to write, write for them as they dictate to you.
- Ask open-ended questions that allow them to think more creatively and in a curious way about their stories and characters.
- Mix medias! Utilize drawings, paintings, sculptures to represent the people, places, things, and ideas emerging from your stories.
- Consider how and what they can learn from other stories, like narrative elements, storytelling conventions, morals, and perspectives.
- Consider how these stories factor into other subjects, especially as they arise naturally in your day to day. Consider math, science, history, geography, art, PE, philosophy, social interaction, emotional recognition, etc.
RAWK’s QUARANTINE ANTHOLOGY PROMPTS: Choose one, choose more...or write about something else! We will publish stories that are inspired by these prompts OR inspired by your ideas. Write what inspires YOU!
- Write a list of all the quarantine necessities that will help you get through the cabin fever. Go back and forth between broad and general necessities and to those very specific and individualized needs.
- Write a quarantine story in an unexpected genre. An outbreak in the Old West? A social distancing love story? An epic quest buddy comedy for toilet paper?
- Write a story about the changes experienced by your neighborhood in a quarantine. What’s different about your neighborhood and your neighbors? What’s the same? What have you noticed now that you’re around when you’re normally at school?
- Write recipes for a quarantine cookbook. Write a short description of the meal, list ingredients, provide instructions, and use a lot of specific kitchen nouns and cooking verbs.
- Write a step-by-step instruction manual on how to survive a quarantine.
- Write about your experiences through song, with intros and outros, verse and choruses, and if you can play music, compose hooks, beats and melodies to sing to.
- Write a note of appreciation to someone in your home who’s helped to make this time together fun and memorable.
- Write about the quarantine from a non-human point of view. How do dolphins feel about exploring the canals of Venice without all the humans and gondolas? How does your cat feel about everyone being home 24/7? How are trees breathing without all the traffic smog in the air?
- Write restaurant-style food reviews of your home-cooked quarantine meals. What was served? What was good? What was new? How did the ambiance, the service, and the cleanliness of the establishment contribute to the meal?
- Write enough quarantine jokes to fill five minutes, then have a Open Mic Comedy Night featuring you and your family. Have an emcee who introduces each comic and shines a flashlight there’s a minute left of each set.
- Write a letter to someone you would normally see but can’t. Fill them in on what you’ve been up to, what you’ve been feeling, and share all the questions and thoughts you’ve had during your time apart.
- Write a quarantine fable using your favorite fable as a model. Give living and non-living characters human characteristics, close quarters to interact within, simple problems to face, and morals to learn.
- Write a story set in the future, exploring the different ways we’ve changed since this time. What improvements have been made, what new problems have emerged, what have we learned, and how have our customs and beliefs shifted in a year, a decade, or a century after this event.