Inspiring Young Writers

As part of receiving funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board, grant recipients must "give back" to the community in some way to demonstrate where the money from the Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund is going. Today I visited first and second graders at Armatage Montessori in Minneapolis to talk about writing and writers.

I took the opportunity to read aloud from a new work in progress, a children's book. It was so rewarding to read a children's story to real, live children (they laughed in all the right places). Then I asked them to write a story of their own and they were full of ideas! There was a story about a dog going to outer space and one about a brother and sister going to Egypt. There were stories about talking dogs and teachers who turned into cats.

A colleague told me that when she was in first grade, her teacher pulled a manuscript out of a manila envelope. It was the first time this little girl (a future writer) had ever realized that this was where books begin, that this was what writers do--they write, one sentence after another, one page after another. I hope that by exposing young children to the nuts and bolts of the life of a writer, I may inspire future writers. After all, that's what the Legacy funds are for.