posted January 29, 2008

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 15.

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

All students 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 sportswriting has been scheduled for third-through-fifth-grade students. Fourth and fifth grade students may choose a session on journalism.

Registration is $20, and includes lunch, a t-shirt and writing supplies for the day. Registration will continue from Friday, Feb. 1, through Friday, Feb. 22, 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.

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 Aaron Zenz, an illustrator, designer, cartoonist and author of "The Hiccupotamus" and co-author of "NASCAR ABCs."

The storytelling session for fourth- and fifth-graders will be led by the husband-and-wife team of Kevin Scott Collier and Kristen Collier. Kevin's books include barthpenn@heaven.org, "Esther's Channel" and "TopsyTurvyLand," and Kristen is author of the book "Joy the Jellyfish."

The session on sportswriting for third through fifth graders will be led by Alan Babbitt, who is sports editor for "The Holland Sentinel," and Mike Zuidema, who is the Benchwarmers sports columnist for "The Grand Rapids Press."

The session on journalism for fourth and fifth graders will be led by "Grand Rapids Press" reporters Kym Reinstadler and Nardy Baeza Bickel, who will take the students through the process of reporting and writing a news story.

The workshop's sponsors include the provost's office and the department of communication at Hope College; the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District; Warner, Norcross & Judd; the Holland Junior Welfare League; Life Services System; the Woman's Literary Club; "The Grand Rapids Press's" Newspapers in Education program; Herrick District Library; Jeff Ebihara-Park Township; Treehouse Books; and the Holland Area Arts Council.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia at 11th Street.