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READ WRITE INSPIRE. Welcome to my Words, a place devoted to making Reading and Writing for children more Inspired.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Writing Wonderworlds

The words on the banner above state that I possess a desire to make reading and writing more inspired for children. They are not spoken lightly.

As part of the Coomera Rivers SS Book Week in May festivities, I have the privileged honour of being their guest author. Throughout the week I've been presenting writing workshops and reading sessions to over 500 primary aged kids and their teachers.

Nothing gives me more of a buzz than a room full of enthusiastic faces and arms thrust so far into the air (to proffer answers and anecdotes) I'd swear their fingers were full of helium. Together we explored the purpose, importance and structure of story telling. They discussed what makes a good read. They shared their reading secrets and writing aspirations with me. They set free their creative selves with exuberant abandon. And they committed to every writerly task asked of them.

They enthused over the marvellous Book Fair displays in their i Centre with it's rollicking Show Time theme, enticing them to roll up and get their tickets to read. All appropriate, important aspects to embrace in the promotion of a healthier literacy environment, especially within this National Year of Reading.

It's no small thing assuming the role of custodian of at least some useful information to encourage kids to read and write more. I hope I have managed to inspire a few. Notably it is I who is more frequently inspired...by them.

Part of the writing workshops aimed at Grade 4 to 7s included a group based RAFT activity. Not a completely new idea, but many had never attempted writing using this technique before. The results were more spectacular than I anticipated. So impressed was I by some of the writing that I have had to include it on my blog for all to share. Have a look at a couple of samples of RAFT writing on my Kool Kidz Page. Of course I can't include every stand out collection of words that gets produced but from the number of them created this year, I have realised, with no small amount of mixed foreboding and gratitude, that I'd better keep my own pencils sharpened and watch my back for fear of getting struck down by some other (younger) person's creative genius.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Celebrate Learning

In case you didn't know State Education Week 2012 is currently in full swing. It's a week where State Schools across Queensland celebrate not only the achievements of students within these schools but also their teachers.

Among the multitude of planned activities, Principal for a Day, My Favourite Teacher awards, morning teas, parades and community sharing sessions are all being celebrated, giving the entire extended school community the opportunity to celebrate the joys and rewards of teaching and learning.

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a thoroughly enjoyable morning of reading and presenting alongside fellow guest authors, Renee Taprell and Candice Lemon-Scott at the Helensvale State School.

Dimity working with Monty the Monster

Candice and her Ferret

Renee sharing a picture book

Both of these ladies are no strangers to children's literature; Renee being a keen picture book writer and Candice a published author of several titles including the humorous Aussie Chomps junior novel, Stinky Ferret and the JJs. The Helensvale Grade 3s and 4s absorbed every word of our various readings from novels, magazine short stories and picture books. But it was the interactive story telling with Monty the Monster which caused the must oohs, ahhs and Ohs.

Local MP Michael Crandon was also on hand, presenting one of my favourite picture book stories, Clancy the Courageous Cow by Lachie Hume to a captivated audience.

Michael Crandon reading Clancy the Courageous Cow
Other presenters included indigenous story teller Graham Dillon and school principal Coralee Pratt.

Readers: Authors Candice, Renee, Dimity and Michael, Principa Pratt and Graham Dillon
Time well spent because I never need an excuse to be able to share a book with kids.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Mother's Day in Review

Is it just me or is Mother's Day getting better as I age? Is this a natural phenomena that occurs as your children age? Am I more relaxed about the state of the kitchen after the 'We'll get breakfast for you" attempts?

Maybe it's the fact that the words hand written on her painstakeningly crafted card are more legible this year. It could be the fact that I actually don't mind sweetly scented gifts and homemade picture frames. Or was it because my plan to get out of the house and therefore divorce myself completely from the temptation to 'just finish this job...' went off like a charm, that my Mother's Day was so memorable?

It could have been the biting mountain air, the dazzling mosaic of auburn and amber autumn leaves, or the sublime buttery sunshine that filled my day with magic.

Personally, I think it was simply hearing, "Happy Mother's Day Mummy" repeatedly delivered by the very person who qualified me to enjoy it all in the first place.

For those mothers who had reason to celebrate, cherish and remember, hope yours was better than better too.