In my cleaning and reorganization mania, I’ve created a “writing center” right outside our homeschool room. It’s for all the children, but especially Lydia (age 3) and Dominic (age 7). Inspired by the “message centers” in Reggio Emilia classrooms and the book Playful Learning, the writing center has slots for envelopes, index cards, “letter paper,” blank books, and books in progress.
In Reggio classrooms, the children each have mailboxes and access to writing materials so that they can communicate with one another in writing. In this way, children see how writing is less about perfect form and more about connection and community — sharing our ideas and experiences with others.
Lydia has taken off with the writing center, writing dozens of letters each day, to real people and to imaginary friends! I created a form letter for Dominic to use, but Lydia seems to be using it more than Dominic.
The blank books are homemade: They’re just copy paper folded in half, with one piece of colored paper on top. I bound the books by sewing them down the center or by stapling then reinforcing with duct tape. By creating these inexpensive blank books, I can let the kids just grab a book whenever a new topic inspires them, without worrying about cost. Most of the books are completely blank for open exploration and creating, but some of the “blank books” are formatted for writing stories, with a space on top for illustrations and lines below.
Here’s a free pdf with forms for both the letter and story pages!