Absentee Line - Text 0417 596 611 or Phone Primary 8150 2397, Secondary 8150 2323 or Email student.reception@smc.sa.edu.au

Does Everyone Have a Book in Them?

It is often said that everyone has got a book in them and though I agree that we all have stories to tell, it’s actually really difficult to write a book, and not everyone has a book in them! Just like not everyone can do a five-minute mile?

At the Primary Campus we use Writer’s Workshop Pedagogy from the Lasallian Stars right through to Year 6 and this approach encourages students to see themselves as authors. Each week during writing lessons students are explicitly taught aspects of writing and then use their writer’s notebook to try the techniques out. A key part of the writer’s workshop is that at the end of each writing session students share their work and get feedback, sometimes from each other or in a one on one conference with their teacher. Students in Reception can explain why they use onomatopoeia, Year 1 students are not worth arguing with… they are persuasion geniuses, Year 2 are experts in many topics, Year 3 slay dragons, Year 5 students are kings of alliteration, Year 4 are the princes of plot and Year 6 keep it real – there’s a lot of action and adventure.

At least once a term our authors publish their work, that is, they select a piece from their writer’s notebook or their books they have made and they polish, draft and present a piece for others to read, and this takes various forms. This is where students are learning strategies to edit their own work from punctuation to paragraphing. We have been monitoring the progress of all our students and evidence shows that we have made the most progress in ideas, creativity and crafting techniques. We know that we need to work on the structural aspects of writing for the future, but the best aspect of this approach is learner agency, students see themselves as writers and enjoy writing.

One of the ways we publish student writing is through the Little Scribes Mini Writing Festival. Students from Year 3 upwards had the chance to publish a book to the Little Scribes story wall and take part in the Book Creation Challenge. 35,000 students across Australia participated and we are beyond proud to celebrate that Australian Author Oliver Phommavanh, chose Brodie D’s (Year 4) The Great Food War as a standout piece of writing. There were only 16 students selected so this is a superb achievement for Brodie.

Congratulations to Brodie and his teacher Mr Boulton who supported and encouraged Brodie’s creation! And congratulations to all SMC authors who published their books to the story wall!

Here is a recording of author Oliver Pommayah reading his favourite piece of writing, and the link to The Great Food War by Brodie.

If you are interested in improving your child’s writing here are some ways you can support them

  • Ask them to tell you stories and help them structure them with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Tell them stories – from your childhood, listening to stories helps understand how to tell them.
  • Share any form of writing with your child, lists, letters, notes help them realise how important writing is.
  • Lastly, read. Read more. Stop when you read a cool sentence that makes you laugh or scares you – ask them how did the writer do that? Your child will notice these moves by writers and they use them in their writing!

So, I guess we might all have a book in us, but it takes a team and rather a lot of effort to produce one!

Joanne Gilmore, Director of Teaching and Learning