By Laura Campbell-Lui
I am a reading specialist with the New York City Department of Education. My students are designated as at risk before they are assigned to me. The students I work with the most have issues such as limited phonemic awareness and/or phonics acquisition, limited vocabularies, learning disabilities, or visual impairments. Some are English language learners.
I pull children out of their homeroom classes once, twice, or three times a week. During each pull-out session, students read my model sentences, poems, or songs; and then we discuss the fine point of the texts before I guide them to try to form their own sentences. Depending on the class, students work on their writing individually or in pairs. If they need additional vocabulary to articulate their ideas, I provide handouts that list adjectives or adverbs.
I use the prompts shared below when teaching my pull-out students a series of lessons with the theme of figurative language. For a self-contained class, this lesson could be done when a special class or other planned activity is canceled.
Writing Prompts for Fourth Grade
What is your favorite way to spend a day off? Describe every hour of the day from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.
Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? Were you scared? Explain how the situation ended.
Name one thing you have lied about to yourself. Why did you do this?
Do you prefer taking risks or staying safe?
What do you look forward to every week?
Complete this thought: “I wish I had paid more attention when…”
Do you have a special talent or skill? What is it? How do you use it?
Have you ever gotten lost? Where were you? Explain what happened. How did it end? How did it change you?
About the Author:
For the last 20 years, Laura Campbell-Lui has been a Title I reading and writing teacher for the New York City Department of Education. Prior to working in her current position, Campbell-Lui worked as a teacher at the early childhood, pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade levels. She motivates student writers with best-selling books, award-winning short stories, and famous songs. If she can get students laughing or sympathizing with characters, she can earn their trust and cooperation.