The Writing Workshop's programs help young writers build confidence, take pride in work, develop creativity, improve literacy, increase general braininess and have a lot of fun.
Write a new piece every week
Why? Regular writing builds the imagination, encourages creativity, expands the repertoire and helps participants get used to writing on demand. It also means that by the end of a program, each young writer has a portfolio of work.
Small, themed age groups from Year 1 to Year 12
Why? Every new term in our after-school workshops is based around a theme - there's a different one each time - and the workshop leader introduces exercises through storytelling, discussion and by drawing on and extending what young writers already know about writing forms and the world. Writing exercises will be age-appropriate: a Year 5 or 6 child might have a real crack at writing a sestina, a Year 2 writer might find a whole lot of words in the dictionary that are very similar to his or her name, and use those as the basis for a character.
Small groups also mean more one-on-one attention, real rapport and group spirit, and great writing.
Read or perform our writing out loud
Why? Reading out connects the work (and its writer) directly with its audience and is the first step towards self-editing. It also helps young writers gain confidence in public speaking, improve understanding and feel for the tone of a piece, and for the "voice" of individual characters, and assists with feedback, in that (especially with very young writers) the read-out work often holds the punctuation and intention of the piece.
It also offers parents and carers the chance to hear what we have produced.
Achievement certificate at the end of each term, and awards for two or more programs
Why? Completing a creative writing program, writing and revising a portfolio of works, working alongside other group members, thinking deeply and gaining new enjoyment of and insights into literature and writing... Well, surely this deserves reward!
Weekly writing exercises, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes a bit of both
Why? Often starting a piece is the hardest part: the blank sheet of paper sitting there on the table. Writing exercises help provide structure and impetus, introduce new writing forms and are good fun.
Example: What is a couplet? Two lines that rhyme. Complete the following couplet: "I sat on a pencil; it really hurt."
(a) "So I had to go to hospiturt" (7 year-old);
(b) "So I rubbed it with yoghurt" (7 year-old).
Why? Our workshop leaders are experienced authors who want to pass on knowledge, experience and the Art of Writing. We know that learning writing is life-long. To write well requires the courage to try new ideas, take risks, as well as experiencing new forms, and thinking about how best to express a precise action or feeling. Our participants do well at school, and have won numerous writing competitions - but their writing skills are not only aimed at the next test.
Make it fun
Why? Ask our participants!