The Writing MenuMany of us speech therapists were trained to rehabilitate oral language skills and leave the written skills to the teacher or resource teacher. I still believe that my main value is in building oral language skills, which can feed right into written language. I work with students to brainstorm ideas, organize thoughts. add detail and descriptive words, transitions and endings. Then they get to work writing their piece.

I was recently in a classroom where the teacher referred to “The Writing Menu” by Melissa Forney. She showed the class a full page of “sensory words” in columns according to touch, smell, sound, taste, and sight. It is an excellent resource to have at your side when writing and wanting to include descriptive words. I ordered “The Writing Menu” and found a workbook of ideas for the classroom teacher to make writing fun. The author’s premise is to provide a “menu” of writing ideas for units of study such as The Rain Forest, Native Americans etc.. The menu gives kids choices according to their abilities–Appetizers are easier projects such as listing or labeling that can be done in one session, Main Courses are projects that involve multiple skills and take several days to complete and Desserts are projects that involve kinesthetic expression such as art or music and take several days to complete. The concept of a menu gives the kids ownership as they make choices based on their learning styles and interests. I know I would pick the dessert!
The author includes writing target skills by grade from first through eighth grade as well as many ideas for writing prompts and lists of words.

If you’re looking for ideas for writing and a new approach, check this out.

What materials do you find helpful to get a child ready for a writing assignment?