Writing virus

Author Andy Griffiths, Councillor Maria Sampey and Silverton Primary School student authors who presented their works to Ronald McDonald House. 132520_03

By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

NO SMALL writing bug has hit at Silverton Primary School.
It first hit students during a term of story-writing on a “digital platform”. Then it went viral when the classes finished – the students kept writing and posting feedback for each other.
Teacher Bianca Thaens said the writing contagion caught the interest of a Queensland children’s publisher Emma Mactaggart of Boogie Books.
Ms Mactaggart hosted workshops with 21 budding authors from the school, offering to publish the stories on one condition – the children decide where to donate the books.
The students formed the Silverton Child Writes Reality Group, choosing to tailor their stories for Ronald McDonald House visitors – who are families of hospitalised children.
“They were the greatest inspiration for the children’s writing,” Ms Thaens said.
“(The students) wanted to write stories that were fun and made children happy.”
It took a year of perseverance to produce the colourful, high-quality productions.
Up to 20 drafts were submitted for each reworked and storyboarded tale. More details were added, a thrilling plot twist thrown in, illustrations created.
“These were not written by the children you’d expect,” Ms Thaens said.
“Some have had literacy struggles. For some, English is not their first language.”
The students presented their offerings to Ronald McDonald House last month, with esteemed author Andy Griffiths and Greater Dandenong’s councillor Maria Sampey in tow.
As well as finding a home in Ronald McDonald House, these books will be kept at the National Library of Australia and State Library of Victoria.
Now this writing bug has spread to 70 further storytellers – “even though they know how much work this means.”
At the launch, Ms Thaens noticed a hooked reader, whose family uses Ronald McDonald House.
“The child was so amazed. He couldn’t believe kids his own age could do this.”

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