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How Do Children Benefit from Working With Authors?
Write Away With Me launched a new program today titled The Writer’s Masterclass. This program brings children together with authors for storytelling, writing, cartooning and more. Our first program features the very talented Jackie Kerin and Adam Wallace. This program is something I have been planning now for some time. At The Writer’s Club, I’ve seen first hand, the positive influence a guest author has on young writers. I also know how much I love the opportunity to listen to authors speak about their work. And of course I’m passionate about anything that inspires children to connect with books and writing! But before I started organising the nitty gritty of this program, I focused on what was in it for the kids. How would they really benefit from coming to a day like this? Below I’ve listed six powerful outcomes (I’m sure there are plenty more) that occur when children come together and work alongside their favourite authors. So authors and writers – you really do make such a difference to the lives of children!
It develops a strong relationship between the reader / writer and deepens a child’s literary experience.
It’s a great thrill to meet the person who wrote the books you enjoy reading. As readers, it helps us form that important bond with the writing and makes reading a more personal and fulfilling experience. In this small group experience, children will naturally have the opportunity to ask lots of questions and personalise the writing process. Where did the author get their ideas for that scene? Where do they look for inspiration? Because books are such a magical ‘out of world’ experience, we sometimes forget that the business of writing books, is in fact, very real and the people that do it so well, have much to share with us.
It enriches and extends children’s writing skills.
It is often said that the best way to become a better writer is to read widely – across many topics and genres. But like adults, some children prefer a particular kind of book and need encouragement to branch out and read something different. Meeting and working alongside authors can certainly influence and expand children’s reading habits. I know I read my first science fiction book after listening to an author speak passionately about their work.
It ignites children’s imaginations and allows them to experience ‘story’ in a very real and immediate way.
There is nothing more inspiring as a writer, than to be swept away by the magic of storytelling and experience what Tolkien describes as ‘the secondary world’. Whilst cartooning will feature in Adam’s storytelling, Jackie is a Kamishibai master and never short of an interesting tale to tell. (She is also a talented artist!) Storytelling will therefore play an important part in the workshops. Writing activities will also focus on generating lots of ideas and story plans so children’s creativity and imagination will get a complete workout!
It exposes children to a variety of different literary voices and writing styles.
Jackie Kerin’s books have a strong Australian flavour whilst Adam’s stories showcase the genre of humorous writing. Their books totally engage young readers but their styles are so different. The Writer’s Masterclass exposes children to a range of literary voices, writing styles and genres, enabling children to add new skills and techniques to their writing repertoire.
It stimulates and excites creative young minds.
Childhood is a wonderful time to absorb and collect all sorts of ideas about people and the world. It’s also an important time to encourage a child’s creativity. This is an opportunity for children to meet with like minded peers, find their ‘tribe’ and begin a lifelong appreciation of literature and the arts.
It inspires young writers and encourages them to take their talent, their writing projects and their ambitions seriously.
I often hear children say they want to be writers when they grow up but they’re not always sure what this actually involves. Does a writer lock themselves away all day, tapping on their computer? By working alongside their favourite authors, asking questions and listening to their stories, children will unravel the writing process and discover just how writers fill their days from generating ideas, drafting stories, writing, editing and marketing their books.
The Writer’s Masterclass is in Melbourne (Oakleigh) on April 11th 2013 for children aged 7-13 years of age. You can download The Writer’s Masterclass Flyer which details the day’s program. Please feel free to spread the word and pass this information on to anyone you know who might like to attend.
It’s going to be a day to remember!