News / Arts & Entertainment

    Young Student Authors Learn to Express Themselves

    With Imagination, Little Readers Become Authorsi
    X
    Faiza Elmasry
    April 12, 2014 10:45 AM
    Reading a book can stretch the imagination, encourage thinking 'outside the box', and expand horizons. Writing a book can do even more. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, having children create their own books is one of the strategies some teachers and parents use to help youngsters develop creativity and a love of reading at an early age. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Faiza Elmasry
    Reading a book can stretch the imagination, encourage thinking 'outside the box,' and expand horizons.  Writing a book can do even more.  Having children create their own books is one of the strategies many teachers and parents use to help youngsters develop creativity and a love of reading at an early age.
     
    In a third grade classroom at Taylor Elementary school in Arlington, Virginia, the eight and nine-year-olds are busy writing, coloring and talking with their teacher.  They are young authors, and today, each student is working on a story of their choice.  Avalon Bennett is almost done writing her book.  She titled it “Maleficent.”  It features the villain from the Walt Disney animated classic, “Sleeping Beauty.”  She likes the process.
     
    “It’s fun, designing your own book and being able to color it and being able to pick the topic,” she said.

    Her teacher, Paul DiBenedetto, has his students create between five and six books throughout the school year, about whatever they've been studying.

    “It’s not part of the curriculum; writing is part of the curriculum,” said DiBenedetto.  “You want students to be writing, but it’s a way to express themselves and to be creative.”

    Creating a book begins with the children finding the ideas that interest them, writing a draft and then editing what they wrote.

    “Once the editing process is done,” he said, “then they go to the final copy, which is on computer.  We try to get them on the computer so they are using the technology.”

    In the process, he says, students learn to think like an author.

    “They start asking the question about whether it’s going along with the topic sentence," he said. "Do I have enough details?  And then they kind of figure out once they get to the concluding sentence or the ending of the story, ‘Oh, does that go along with my story?”

    No matter what grade level he's teaching, DiBenedetto always assigns his students to write a book.

    “From the first grade, I’m expecting one to three sentences,” he explained.  “Third grade, we’re talking about paragraphs.  I’m looking for four to five [paragraphs].  Then, in the 5th grade you are looking for a lot more than that.  They are doing a lot of narrative on pages.”

    Children’s book author Holly Karapetkova, a literature professor at Marymount University, says she’s happy that her eight-year-old son K.J. and his classmates are writing books at school.

    “I think creating books sends them back to books,” she said.  “It encourages them to read more, both the books they are creating and other books.”

    Creating books is one of the favorite activities she’s always done at home with her children K.J. and his three-year-old sister, Kalina.

    “We have made books about animals, about weather, a lot of books about letters and numbers to reinforce skills,” she added.  “One of our favorite kinds of books to make is an alphabet book, just with simple letters, then pictures, either pictures that we print out from our real photos or pictures that the children draw to match those letters.”

    She says the key to keeping them interested in creating books is giving them freedom of choice.

    “Kalina has been more into cooking with me lately and making things in the kitchen. I asked her what do you want to make a book about, and she said, ‘I want to make a cookbook.  So we made a cookbook," she said.

    K.J. is into something else.  He’s working on a joke book and a comic book.  He has written more than a dozen books on different topics.

    “It’s just fun to see all the different types of homemade books you can make,” said K.J.  “All the books that I create have like different texture, like made out of different things.  Like there is a bath book we’ve made it out of plastic bags.”

    His mother hopes the skills he and Kalina are developing - writing, reading, thinking, imagining - will help them succeed in the 21st century job market.

    “Who knows what kind of skills they’re going to need,” Karapetkova said.  “The technology is changing so quickly, but what I know [is that] they are going to need to know how to think.”

    And that starts early, by making writing and reading an everyday fun activity.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.