Nature can be a powerful source of inspiration and motivation for budding writers. The vast silence of a snow-filled forest?the curls and curves of frost on a window?images all around us just beg to be recorded. Writing about the environment can help students gain basic skills that will last a lifetime.
The environment also encourages reading. A walk in the woods can pique young readers' interest in outdoor adventure books. An hour spent turning over rocks or exploring the edge of a pond can send children scurrying to books that not only answer questions they've raised, but also expose them to related topics.
Writing can help children understand and appreciate nature. It gives them a chance to hone and share the thoughts and feelings that come with experiencing the world around them. When children create a nature journal by combining writing and sketches, they build their observation and analytical skills. When they read others' responses to the inspiration offered by the environment, their own observations gain depth and dimension. Writing and reading about the world around us unleashes questions?and answers. It stimulates appreciation. It helps refine existing ideas and gives birth to new ones.
How can you blend reading, writing, and environmental education? Here are some ideas:
(From Winter 2001 Interconnections)