Young writers to hone skills at conferenceWORTHINGTON — Twenty-nine of Prairie Elementary’s future scribes will soon have a fun opportunity to develop their craft.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Twenty-nine of Prairie Elementary’s future scribes will soon have a fun opportunity to develop their craft.
The SW/WC Service Cooperative’s 18th annual Conference for Young Writers will offer them such sessions as “Rockin’ Out with Writing” and “Poetry is like Onions and Parfait” and the chance to hear a keynote address by comedic ventriloquist David Malmberg.
The third-, fourth- and fifth-graders attending the conference wrote essays judged as winners or honorable mentions in Prairie’s optional writing contest. A total of 54 students submitted entries answering the prompt “School is a great place.”
Students wrote of making friends, special teachers and lunch time. Some liked physical education class for its variety of sports, while others recalled art projects or explained how school gave them a sense of safety.
Initially, essays were judged on basics like grammar, punctuation and legibility; a set of criteria provided to entrants beforehand.
“Many of the winners made the mark on our criteria, but then we went into things like your vocabulary usage and (writer’s) voice … which are a little more sophisticated,” explained Kelly Troe, a third-grade teacher and chair of the school’s Gifted and Talented Education Committee, which is financing the trip with state gifted and talented funds.
“Kids are taught to write; but now we offer them this writing contest, and that shakes out the kids who have high interest,” she said. “All of these kids next year will be tagged and their teachers will be told ‘Hey, this kid was in the writing contest.’”
Now in its second year, the contest drew nearly three times as many entries as last year, and Troe hopes it will continue to grow in popularity. Because essay writing is a skill required throughout life — especially for the college-bound — she said it makes sense to introduce children to essay basics as early as possible.
Meanwhile, the conference, set for Jan. 5 in Marshall, will give hundreds of youngsters from across the state a chance to learn more about many facets of writing through sessions taught by humorists, illustrators, professors and authors.
“You get to hear people who make a living writing, and to me it is all very useful,” Troe said. “The exciting part for me is to plant the seed that if you have a strong interest in something you can be noticed for it. And you can be noticed in a positive way.”
To read some of the winning essays, visit www.dglobe.com.