By Jimmy Fisher
WYOMING — The Wyoming Free Library is taking creative writing to a whole new level.
A series of writing workshops will be held through Aug. 12 for students in grades 5 through 8 to help expand their creative writing skills.
The program was started by King’s College student Jamie Marino after he and library volunteer Susan Doty noticed its success with adults.
“When I was volunteering at the library for our book club, we discovered that some of the people in the adult book club had written some short stories and poems and one woman wrote a book,” said Doty. “We started finding out more people really enjoyed writing and I said, ‘Let’s see if we can get a writer’s workshop.’ We contacted King’s College and brought in Jamie. He saw the success and asked, ‘What about the kids?’”
From there, Doty and Marino checked the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website to learn standards for students age 10 to 13. They then developed a children’s writing workshop to help students develop those standards, but in a different way.
The key focus for the summer workshop is to hone in on what makes students creative and offer them opportunities to use their imaginations to write short stories.
The fun thing about the program, Doty said, is the students are given an idea to work with but what they choose to do with that idea is up to them.
“They can envision anything they want to and use their imagination to come up with a story,” said Doty. “One of the activities we’re going to do is the student will pick out a book based on its cover and then we’ll select a page, copy that page and we’re going to do what we call black out writing. They will black out all words that have no meaning to them and only keep the words they find exciting and interesting. When they’re done, they’ll make a list of those words and they will tell them to create a story using those words.”
Doty said there will be other creative activities on hand for students throughout the next few weeks, including an activity where they will listen to a certain genre of music and write a story on how it made them feel and what they were thinking while the music played.
Ten-year-old Madeline Hindmarsh, of Exeter, hopes the writers workshop will help her dig deep into her imagination.
“I’m sort of looking forward to the prompts and the writing pieces we’ll be doing because I like using my imagination when it comes to writing,” she said.
“Our hope is they will start discovering whether it is poetry, short stories, whatever they enjoy writing the most they can have the opportunity to do it creatively,” Doty said of the students. “We don’t want it to be a scripted program; we want to give them the opportunity to express what they’re feeling and thinking, at the same time, using good writing technique with that.”
Using these new techniques and different ways to be creative, Hindmarsh hopes she will have a knack for writing more.
“I’m hoping that I will get more into writing, reading and just being more creative,” she said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher