hero image

Many Americans have challenges when it comes to writing, and this is a problem that has persisted despite several approaches being tried to remedy the issue. In the early 2010s, most states adopted the Common Core State Standards aimed at fixing the problem, but it seems there are no signs that its implementation has improved the situation.

826 Valencia’s approach to writing

However, renowned writer Dave Eggers sought to help children learn how to write well in 2002 by forming an organization 826 Valencia. The San Francisco based organization has taken writing and tutorial programs to several cities across the US. David Kirp, a volunteer at 826 Valencia, describes an approach he thinks will help kids love to write.

826 Valencia’s approach is different from that taught in schools because the tutors are volunteers who love writing. There is no curriculum, and the kids are not graded on their writing prowess. Writing is a craft, and children should be left to enjoy and write on what appeals to them. Writing should be fun, and creativity can be enhanced by letting the kids write about their experiences instead of giving an area to write on.

Getting kids to write about themselves

According to Eggers, children will love to write about their lives. For instance, if they go to a pirate store, their brains change, and they feel at home because it is funny and strange. Eggers recalls how a moment when police stormed an inner-city high school to break a schoolyard fight inspired students to write. He says the episode was traumatizing, and it became central for a book about the different perceptions about youths of color and those of suburbs. Expressing their feelings writing helped the students heal from the traumatic experience.

The 826 Valencia approach is working with students signed up, showing a 19% improvement in their writing during the school year. Equally, those who showed weak writing improved by 30%. Also, most of the surveyed students reportedly indicated that they had become confident in their writing when writing about their life.