Monday, October 26, 2009

Teaching Kids to Write (In Memory of Doreen)

I love teaching creative writing classes. It's always an eye opening experience to see what kids will come up with. Some funny, some heart wrenching, but always unique.

I've been reading two books on writing written for kids. Neither of them is new, but they found their way into my reading stack for different reasons. The first is What's Your Story: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction by Marion Dane Bauer. I attended a conference this summer where Marion was one of the featured speakers. I thoroughly enjoyed her approach to the workshop and wanted to see how she passed on her wonderful body of writing knowledge to young writers.

In the introduction, Marion tells readers that "our stories put us in charge. They allow us to explore our feelings without having to face the consequences of acting them out." It's a good observation and a great way to start the storytelling journey. Marion's writing on writing is vivid. She is a master at capturing the intensity of the present moment, in her own stories and helping young writers tell theirs. A great resource.

The other book is Live Writing: Breathing Life into Your Words by Ralph Fletcher. Doreen Sears introduced me to Fletcher. "He's the guru of writing these days," she told me."You need to know him." So I went in search of his work and found I liked it a great deal. He has several lovely volumes of poetry and many novels, too. His clear thinking and practical examples bring life to his book for young writers.

Doreen Sears was a dearly-loved, K-12 reading specialist for Muscogee County. She died on Friday after a long battle with cancer. Her kindness and her smile will be sorely missed. So my book suggestions today are in memory of this gentle lady who loved reading and writing and helping students discover the power of words.

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