writer's notebook

A Gift from a Young Writer

One of my former students e-mailed me this evening with the first draft and the final draft of a personal narrative she wrote for her seventh grade English Class. She invited my comments, positive or negative, which was flattering in and of itself. However, when I opened the first draft, I discovered something wonderful. This personal narrative came from a notebook entry she wrote nearly two years ago when she was my student; it was one of her daily entries.

While I didn’t have the chance to really read both carefully tonight, I will over the weekend. This is the email I sent back to her this evening (The salutation with her name is omitted to protect her privacy):

WOW! I remember this story… It is from a notebook entry you developed when you were in my class in fifth grade. Isn’t it amazing how the things we collect in our notebooks can become published pieces down the road?

I’m so glad you developed this piece! I eye-balled it tonight, but will give you some real feedback over the weekend. Thanks so much for sharing it with me. You made my whole month (and just think… it’s only December 3rd!).

All the best,
Ms. S.

I think it’s a true gift to receive something like this from our former students. It shows that the writerly lives we often feel as though we’re pushing on them do pay off. After all, the piece she wrote began as a daily entry in her fifth grade writer’s notebook.

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