What do shipwrecks, flying pigs, and talking fruit have in common? There were all featured in story submissions for the Vermont PBS Kids’ annual Writing Contest, which I had the pleasure of judging last week.
Last Friday, I joined nine other writers, librarians, and members of educational non-profits at Vermont’s PBS headquarters in Colchester to review 106 compelling stories written and illustrated by talented students from all over the state.
Have you had a mentor who influenced your life?
I’ve had quite a few, some through formal mentorship programs, but most have happened organically with a friend or colleague I respect who shares their experience and advice with me and acts as a sounding board when I need it.
I’m so excited: I’m reading the manuscript of a friend’s just-finished mystery novel.
I love reading more than pretty much any other activity (besides, maybe, eating), and reading a friend’s work — especially when it’s great — is so much fun.
I have a theory that everyone who loves reading also has their own book kicking around in their imagination.
It’s simple: reading other people’s stories empowers us to tell our own. I would bet every one of us — faced with an incredible real-life situation, waking up from a dream, looking up an interesting fact — has thought, This would make a great story.
With the promise of summer weather on the horizon, I’ve started to contemplate fun ways to bring our reading outdoors on warm, sunny days. Luckily with the world of Pinterest and creative blogs, I found a wealth of ideas for summer literacy activities.
Flight goggles firmly on their heads, Vermont author and CLiF presenter SS Taylor and New York City illustrator Katherine Roy voyaged to the Newbury Elementary School in Newbury, VT last Friday to give three presentations to all the students from Grade 1 to Grade 6 about the multi-year process they navigated to create their new epic children’s book The Expeditioners.
Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, a children’s book author from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, has been visiting K-8 students at the Lunenburg Elementary School and Gilman Middle School since October to teach her Story Keepers humanities curriculum. Story Keepers is part of Lunenburg’s three-year Community Literacy grant from CLiF.
Last week, the New York Times‘ Opinionator blog featured an essay called “What Should Children Read?” by English teacher and writer Sarah Mosle. In the essay, Mosle highlights the new emphasis on nonfiction in the Common Core State Standards, “a set of national benchmarks, adopted by nearly every state, for the skills public school students should master in language arts and mathematics in grades K-12.”
According to Mosle, when the standards go into effect in 2014, 50 percent of all fourth-grade reading assignments will be nonfiction.