Last month I wrote about strategies for engaging students in writing (Ed Talk Dec 20, 2016). In the spring of 2016, I had the privilege of dropping in to the NWESD Young Authors Conference at Skagit Valley College. For 30 years NWESD has partnered with Skagit Valley College to provide this rare and wonderful opportunity for students in our region. What I saw last spring was intriguing and clearly supported the notion that students are encouraged to write by giving them the opportunity to interact with published authors and illustrators. A bustling bookstore was selling children’s books at a great rate. Happy, involved students and chaperones were taking part in hands-on workshops and lectures. What an inspiring conference!
The NWESD Young Authors Conference has clearly been ahead of its time. Each year the conference focuses on a different genre: fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Students bring with them to the conference a piece of their own writing to share with their peers. Thoughtful critique from colleagues is one way in which writers hone their craft and improve their skills. Learning from accomplished children’s authors about careers, the writing process and the creation of books encourages our students to consider writing as a career choice and makes writing relevant in their lives.
In addition to writing workshops, the conference also offers students the opportunity to participate in illustration or cartooning workshops. Many students have never considered the fact that their talents in art could lead to a career in book illustration. Each child attending the conference gets to connect with professional illustrators and create a piece of their own. Increasing student understanding of the place that creativity and the arts hold in our society increases their ability to see themselves pursuing art as a vocation.
The NWESD Young Authors Conference is currently enrolling students. If you are interested in helping your students view themselves as published authors and provide them the opportunity to learn from real-life authors, consider attending the 2017 Young Authors Conference!
Click on peer review for further information on improving student writing.
For further information about making writing relevant to your students click here.
As for me, I’m headed home to start my new novel!
Until next time,