Six-Words is a Valuable Strategy to Improve Writing Skills

Amy O’Meara brought Six-Word Memoirs to her classes at Temple Terrace Elementary in Florida after being introduced to the concept by Cathy Dyer, a neighboring teacher who was working on strategies in teaching writing. As someone who takes the role of teacher in developing writing skills seriously, Amy wanted her students to focus on the importance of choosing the right words, a strategy Amy considers useful in how to teach writing to students. “I can’t think of a better way to teach a child how powerful words can be when you can only use six of them.” The Six-Word form was a simple way to demonstrate how word choice can evoke a specific emotion or reaction from the reader - a strategy to improve writing skills - especially when writing memoirs.

Amy’s students also experimented with different types of writing skills, including form and structure, during their Six-Word Memoirs project. Students chose a noun that strongly described themselves and were then tasked to begin their memoirs with that noun. In another activity to improve writing skills, Amy asked them to see if different punctuation impacted or changed their story. “After that,” Amy explained, “they just start writing, talking to each other, laughing and helping each other. Six-Words made this lesson on the importance of writing skills engaging and interactive.”

These young students crafted many thought-provoking memoirs, including:
   “Six thousand miles away from normal.”
   “Trying hard, Doesn’t succeed. Keeps going.”
   “How will I make it now?”

Amy was especially impressed with the work done by her struggling students, who initially needed a little more help with their strategies to improve writing skills, but ultimately produced some of the most powerful Six-Word Memoirs. “Some of the most beautiful ones came from the students who struggled the most because it came from the heart,” Amy revealed.

Using Six-Word Memoirs as a way to improve writing skills for students has provided Amy’s fourth graders the opportunity to put their personal experience into words. In addition, teaching writing skills gave her a glimpse into her students’ hearts and minds. 

This fall, Amy will relocate to Bahrain to teach at Riffa Views International School. She hopes to introduce Six-Word Memoirs to those students as well.