I have this program I created for my second and third grade writing club kids called the Crown Jewels. Participation is optional. The gist of it is that the student earns a jewel each time they write in a different genre, thus encouraging a little risk-taking, a little try-out-something-new-for-a-bit. There is no limit to the number of jewels a young writer can earn, but the program only runs for one semester.
Some kids are completely unmotivated by external rewards and are too busy writing their epic graphic novel, the next Harry Potter, poetry, or whatever that they collect a complimentary jewel with a smile and that's that.
But some students are really chomping at the bit to challenge themselves.
Third-grade Jairus wrote dilligently each week, trying out different genres, pushing himself harder and harder.
Writing Club had its last meeting today and Jairus took home twenty-two jewels.
One of my parent voluteers asked him one time if he thought he'd be a writer when he grew up.
Jairus' answer? "It's what I dream about every day."
My crown is off to you, Jairus. I know you'll make your dreams come true.