Friday, November 21, 2014

Mr. Coulter's first-grade class writes a book

Here's a followup to the story about Brad Coulter's first-graders and their typewriters in Kirkland, Washington.

The class has now completed a book of typed creative writing. Brad says:

I've been gathering typewriters over the last year (all old manual typewriters and one electric), and I now have enough for each student. I've found sources for new ribbons and I've learned how to repair them. They range from 35 to 95 years in age and in general they work as well now as the day they were made.

Each week the kids are assigned a typewriter. For writing they have the option to type or to write in their journals. Most kids use the typewriters. The room sounds like an old newsroom with the kids clacking away. As you can see, they spell things the way they sound, and I've taught them that typing mistakes are part of the page, and they continue on. We don't start over, we don't mess with white-out, though sometimes we edit and re-type, but only occasionally. We have access to netbooks, but I've found that with primary age kids, the time it takes to log on, along with network issues, deleted files, mistakes in saving, printing, etc., generally make for trouble. The typing is immediate, tactile, all that. I've seen great improvement in their writing skills since September. I'd like to quantify this somehow. Of course it's not about the typewriters, it's about the writing, but I think I might be onto something.

Congratulations, kids and Mr. Coulter, and thanks for sharing!

You can download the book here.


  1. Wow, what a wonderful collection of writing this class produced. Lovely stuff.

  2. That is wonderful! They made quite a nice book.

  3. This is great. I use typewriters with my high school kids with similar, but not nearly as cute, results.

  4. Replies
    1. Those are Studio 44s! Great for kids. They're bombproof, they stay put, and they have a fairly large pica typeface.