One way I lured my girls into writing was to show them contests they could enter. Contests moved the writing process outside our home, giving the girls an audience beyond me, setting their focus beyond the work to the hope of a trophy, a blue ribbon...or money! At age six, my oldest daughter won her first prize. She wrote a piece for the zoo about a bird migrating south.  Her reward? Joining the zookeeper to feed the animals. Her lesson? Writing produces results!

I did a quick web search and found some contests. Check them out, but also be on the lookout for them in kids' magazines, newsletters, local newspapers, and libraries.

Are you aware of any writing contests? Share them in the comments.
I am joining my youngest daughter as she reads The Swiss Family Robinson for a history/literature class. The story is told in first person, from the perspective of Mr. Robinson, the father of four boys. The writing makes me smile because, at least in this version, it is very formal, even stuffy.

If you don't own the Bantam Classic edition, invite your students to read chapter 1 and part of chapter 2 here. Based on the writing style, what words would they use to describe the father? Give them the task of revising a few of Wyss's paragraphs, making the writing sound like a different father: their own, one they know, or one they imagine. They can then compare the two versions. What makes them different?

Not only will your students be able to practice revising through this exercise, but they will also see the effects of different voices in writing.