Budding writers get an early start

First Posted: 11/11/2014

At the annual Young Authors’ Day hosted by Keystone College on Nov. 5, approximately 220 elementary, junior and senior high school students from six area school districts had an opportunity to meet authors and learn how a real author works.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Reading Association, a “professional organizations dedicated to improving and promoting literacy in our schools and in community, organized the program.

According to Jeanie Prall, chairperson for Young Authors’ Day, a past president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Reading Association and an instructor at Keystone College, students learned about the entire process of writing, from idea to bound book.

“The exposure and having an opportunity to meet a real author and find out how a real author works, how they take an idea and make it into a book, poem or story for all those budding authors, gives them motivation,” said Prall. “You can’t separate reading and writing. I’m a reading teacher. One reinforces the other. Reading gives a writer something to write about and a writer writes something so other people can read it…so it can be read by an audience.”

Students in grades three through 12 and their teachers from Riverside, Blue Ridge, Mountain View, Abington Heights, Forest City and Carbondale Area school districts attended the program. The day featured book sales and autographing sessions, presentations by children’s authors Kevin Kammeraad of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Jeanne Moran of Nicholson, and artist Ted Michalowski, breakout sessions and lunch at Keystone College.

Moran, author of “Risking Exposure,” said her experience speaking to students “was wonderful, and actually (this is) the third time I worked with Young Authors’ Day. This is the first time I was speaking to the whole gang. The kids are so excited about their ideas. They love their ideas and this is a great format for these ideas to be encouraged. It’s great to have a venue where their ideas are encouraged.”

Featured author and illustrator Kammeraad, who writes children’s poetry and “does a lot with music and puppetry,” noted his hope with every program is “to inspire kids to be creative and use their imaginations. I wanted to show them (today) there are so many ways to get ideas for creative writing. I love Young Authors’ Days because the kids are so excited about their ideas. They’re excited to be creative and they’re proud of their work…”

Rida Ashraf, Kaylin Wilbur and Chloe Conway were among the students from the Abington Heights School District who took part in Young Authors’ Day.

“It’s really exciting. I like the different types of writing and how the authors get their ideas,” said Ashraf. Her favorite part of attending the presentation was getting to meet real successful authors.

“I was happy to be chosen to be here,” Wilbur said. She most enjoyed meeting the authors and “knowing that we can become them someday.”

Conway noted, “I thought it was fun I got to be here….” The most exciting aspect of being an author she said is “people are reading what you wrote. I want to write fiction.”

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