posted February 1, 2007

Writing Workshop Designed for Children

Elementary-age students will have a chance to improve their writing skills through a workshop being held at Hope College on Saturday, March 17.

The workshop, "Writing, It's Elementary," will give first- through fifth-graders an opportunity to work with professional authors, illustrators, journalists, poets and filmmakers. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the college's Maas Center.

All participants will participate in one session and will have an opportunity to start a writing project.

Sessions focused on storytelling, featuring authors and illustrators, have been scheduled for students in first grade, second grade, third grade, and fourth and fifth grade. A session on poetry and songwriting has been scheduled for third- and fourth-grade students. Fourth- and fifth-grade students may choose sessions on journalism and screenwriting.

Registration is $20, and includes lunch, a t-shirt and writing supplies for the day. Registration will continue through Friday, Feb. 23, or until the sessions are filled. Full and partial scholarships are available for students with financial need.

A registration form for the workshop is available online through the Herrick District Library Web site at www.herrickdl.org. Additional information may also be obtained by calling Nancy Hanchett at Life Services System, (616) 396-7566, ext. 106.

The storytelling session for first-graders will be led by Karen Hoenecke, a kindergarten teacher at Lakeshore Elementary in West Ottawa who has written more than 30 early-reader books used in schools throughout the country, including "Mouse Finds a House," "Pickle Stew," "Scarecrow's Friends" and "Snake Hunts for Lunch."

The storytelling session for second-graders will be led by Shirley Neitzel, author of a dozen books including "The Jacket I Wear in the Snow," "The House I'll Build for the Wrens" and "We're Making Breakfast for Mother."

The storytelling session for third-graders will be led by Ryan Hipp, an illustrator and musician whose books and albums for kids include "A Curious Glimpse of Michigan," "How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?" and "A Curious Glimpse: The Music."

The storytelling session for fourth- and fifth-graders will be led by the husband-and-wife team of John Mooy and Wendy Anderson Halperin. Mooy is a storyteller, educator, sculptor, public radio presenter, and songwriter and author of "Once Upon a Mail Route." Anderson Halperin has illustrated dozens of books, including author Cynthia Rylant's series.

The session on poetry and songwriting for third- and fourth-graders will be led by Rick Muniz, who is principal of Holland's Jefferson Focus School and often mixes music with learning.

The session on journalism for fourth- and fifth-grade students will be led by "Grand Rapids Press" reporters Kym Reinstadler, Nardy Baeza Bickel and John Tunison.

The session on screenwriting for fourth- and fifth-graders will be led by Rebecca Green, who is creative development director at TicTock Studios in Holland and has worked with film companies including Lionsgate and Paramount.

The workshop's sponsors include the provost's office and the department of communication at Hope College; Herrick District Library; the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District; David and Carol Myers; Life Services System; TicTock Studios; the Holland Junior Welfare League; Treehouse Books; State Farm, Jeff Ebihara Agency; "The Grand Rapids Press" and the Holland Area Arts Council.