Writer in residence Marty Chan gave Sherwood Park students a little extra help with their creative writing. He stopped by the Woodbridge Farms Elementary School for two weeks in November, 2018.
Partnering with the teachers at Woodbridge, Chan helped develop two separate programs for students. This consisted of half hour writing sessions for students in grades 1 – 3 and hour long writing sessions for students in grades 4 – 6.
“Storytelling is a crucial skill for all kids to learn,” said Chan. “No matter what you’re writing, it has to matter to the reader, and that’s ultimately what we practice in these sessions—how to write things that people want to read.”
Chan helped the younger students learn descriptive writing skills by crafting adventure stories featuring their favourite stuffed animals. The older students focused on suspenseful stories, which is a genre that Chan knows very well, since publishing a mystery book series.
“It can be difficult to get kids to invest in their writing if they don’t care about what they’re doing,” said Chan. “So I tell them to write something that will scare their friends, and by having an audience and a goal in mind, that really changes their attitude.”
Principal Andy Cunningham felt they were able to get students excited about building their storytelling skills through this program, deeming it a success.
“While they were writing and planning stories, they were also learning how to organize and communicate their thoughts, which is an important part of literacy development,” added Cunningham.
Chan has published 13 children’s books and has been a writer in residence in four other libraries.