Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Schools: Celebrate Teen Writers

By Rebecca Wallace-Segall
(Photos: Jeff Segall)

The National Endowment for the Arts reported today a downward trend in fiction, poetry, and drama consumption by Americans--with the youngest group, ages 18-25, hit the hardest.

According to the study, the ubiquity of electronic media has made the difference. Certainly obsessive IMing and Facebook surfing takes us away from our books, but, as educators, we actually have control over the more perilous culprit: the fact that most school administrators don't do much to reinforce the notion that literature should take center stage at school.

Here's a way your school can help young people realize the pleasure and value of reading: fund a creative writing program that can support qualified creative writing teachers; celebrate your young creative writers as proudly as you celebrate athletes, actors, and general academics; plan readings during the school year held within the school's auditorium that place writers on stage under the spotlight.

Schools can play an active role undoing the marginalization of literature and literates in their schools. But will they?

The photos posted (above) were taken at Barnes & Noble during the Q & A session after each tween or teen writer read their own original short story, poem, or memoir, or helped read a play written by a workshop participant.

~~Rebecca WS

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/arts/19nea.html


Matt said...

One other idea is encourage the writers in your school to read and submit to a literary magazine like Polyphony H.S. at http://www.polyphonyhs.com/polyphonyhs/index.php which is specifically for teen writing.

Great work,


Rebecca Segall said...

Thanks, Mattt. Polyphonyhs looks great. Will pass on the info to my kids and see who would like to submit.

Nico said...

I notice the most common form of writing celebration throughout schools are the literary magazines. Perhaps that can expand.

Rebecca Segall said...

Nico, perhaps students or teachers can request that a reading be held in the school's auditorium at which the writers read their contributions to the school's literary magazine on stage?

Sarah M. said...

Polyphony's great, but there are alternatives to it as well.

I'm a Chicago teen who pretty much agrees with everything you said in your post. So I started Word!, a monthly online magazine written and run by teens.

Check it out at www.wordwebzine.com

Word!'s not a literary magazine; it publishes opinion articles, select non-fiction narratives, reviews, poetry, photography and artwork.

Jordan, Editor said...

Writing and reading are so important. It helps develop your mind. Writing makes you think for yourself and be a better person. I'm sorry, but not surprised to see a downturn in book consumption. We writers and our ideas rule the world!