Third-grade classrooms at Lakes International Language Academy welcomed local writers for live and in-person author talks as part of their February curriculum unit on storytelling.
The unit helps students learn about the writing process. During their visits, authors Tracy Nelson Maurer, Forest Lake, and Julie Lundgren, Wyoming, discussed their work as writers, offered advice and encouragement, and answered questions. Through games, examples, and readings, the pair talked about steps in the process, and shared how they got started and what inspires them to write.
Lundgren explained, “If I can motivate a young person to catch the writing bug, and they learn that their words can make a difference in the world, that’s an amazing thing.”
Lundgren has published more than 40 nonfiction books. As part of this unit in LILA’s International Baccalaureate curriculum, students produced their own stories in Spanish and English.
Spanish immersion teacher Jeff Wittrock said, “Having published writers come to the classroom gives students such a great new perspective on authors. The realization in students that authors are real people and that they themselves have the ability to become authors is evident on their faces.”
Maurer said, “The kids asked great questions. One student asked what my favorite book is that I haven’t written. The question probably meant which book of another author do I like best (my answer: any Dr. Seuss!). But it made me think: I have all kinds of ideas for books floating around in my head, just waiting to be written. When one idea becomes a favorite, it’s time to roll up my sleeves write it.”
Maurer has published more than 80 books, including her award-winning children’s fiction title, Storm Codes.