With kids across the country already back to school, many parents are being forced once again to find answers to those devastating third-grade writing prompts, both sentence and paragraph-level assignments. Fortunately, we have answers for them.
‘They asked little Brian to write about his summer vacation, two paragraphs,’ sobbed one local mother, whose third-grader had been sitting pencil in hand at the kitchen table for three hours, mind a blank — paper even blanker.
Another unlucky little urchin, Natalia from Peoria Heights, was actually asked to write a ten-line poem about ‘a bear with a pear.’
‘They sit around, these teachers, in a dungeon or wherever, or a BAR, probably drinking, and come up with these ridiculous prompts,’ Natalia’s dad Ron told The Gorko. ‘How about they let our kid choose their own animal, huh?’
Here are a few tips on how to help your child overcome writer’s block this school year.
WRITE THE SON OF A BITCH FOR THEM
If your third grader is still sitting at the kitchen table at bedtime, softly weeping, dictate a fictional account of their summer for them to transcribe in their own handwriting. Make sure to avoid fourth-grade words such as eager, sole, and manufacture.
SET UP A WRITING ROUTINE
Force your third grader out of bed every morning extra early to write on sundry prompts such as Recall a special memory from your childhood and how it helped you overcome abuse or 5 things that irritate you about the opposite sex and their nasty habits at school. Make sure it is a seven-day, year-round routine, no cheating.
DON’T GET STUCK ON ‘IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT’
Many third graders try to begin personal essays with inappropriate, stock phrases like It was a dark and stormy night or Call me Ishmael, and get stuck. Tell them to crumple up that plagiarized tripe and start over with something more pedestrian, about THEM.
FREEWRITE WITH THE GHOST OF HEMINGWAY
This requires a bit of setup (candles, Victorian blouses, a thirty-foot roll of scratch paper, blind spirit seer) but is well worth the effort! Invite the classic muse of third graders, Ernest Hemingway, to enter your kitchen and possess your child while they ‘freewrite’ or scribble channeled messages from the famous novelist. Then send them to us!
Whatever you do, remember one thing: it’s not the end of the world. After third grade there is fourth grade, then fifth grade, then sixth grade, then seventh and eighth grade and high school coming up, and on and on and on it goes.
Photo by April Walker on Unsplash