Looking out on an audience of nearly 50 eighth graders, Kyle Prue, an award-winning fiction author, recited a quote from renowned author Stephen King that resonated with him when he was younger: “If you can’t find the book you want to read, then you should write it.”
Mr. Prue addressed sixth through eighth graders at Raymer Elementary School in East Toledo on Friday to kick off a Read for Literacy workshop series aimed at improving teenagers’ creative writing skills.
“I want them to understand that getting good at what you love is a worthwhile endeavor,” he said. “Hopefully someone leaves inspired.”
The teen writing workshop is an opportunity for young writers to showcase their talents and for the public to see students’ level of creativity, said Matt Russell, editor-in-chief of Glass House and coordinator of the Claire’s Day teen writing program.
Read for Literacy publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by teenage students in Glass House, its annual literary journal. Read for Literacy was awarded a $10,000 grant from Toledo Community Foundation to expand the festival’s teen writing program.
The grant allowed Claire’s Day to hold a series of in-depth creative writing workshops for the students at Raymer, Birmingham Elementary School, and Queen of Apostles School.
Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from each school will participate in a series of five workshops during which Mr. Russell will help them brainstorm, write, and edit their fictional writing pieces.
The energetic crowd listened intently as Mr. Prue summarized his award-winning book, The Sparks.
“We hope having a published author speaking inspires them to write,” Mr. Russell said.
The Glass House will publish at least one student from each school after the workshops wrap up.
“Our workshops are, on the surface, about storytelling,” Mr. Russell said. “But really they’re about nurturing students’ voices and giving them the confidence to communicate their original ideas.”
Raymer principal Barbara Ferguson said having a creative writing program for her students aligns with the school’s academic vision.
“We’re pushing the importance of reading,” she said. “The more you read, the better you are at spelling, writing, and speaking.”
Mr. Russell said Claire’s Day and its teen writing program helps address an even broader spectrum of literacy.
“When you talk about literacy, you’re not talking just about reading but communication,” he said.
The selected pieces are to be published and released May 19 at the annual Claire’s Day Children’s Book Festival in Maumee
Courtsey of The Blade. By JAVONTE ANDERSON | BLADE STAFF WRITER