When I read this quotation, it immediately takes me back to intimate moments I've spent with children's writing folders. (My writers typically produce vast amounts of writing, most of which I don't see unless I look at it outside of the school day.) I can picture myself with a folder belonging to one of my best writers, reading piece after piece and feeling pretty good about their progress. In the midst of the treasures though, is that one piece resembling something they probably could have written in kindergarten. I'm left thinking, "Seriously?!" Carol Avery reminds me to give the kid a break. Whether the writer is advanced or emerging, young or old, variation in the quality of writing is to be expected.
Sometimes the best clues for how to treat young writers come from the ways we adult writers want to be treated. I took a writing class this summer. I gave myself a break on a daily basis. Not everything I wrote turned out to be a work of art. In fact, there were moments of thinking, "Seriously?!" It's just the way writing works though. If I'm not surprised that the level of my writing seems to vary from day to day, then neither should I be surprised when the same thing happens with my young writers. They're just being normal.