I spend a lot of time writing for kids. It isn’t as easy as you think. Vocabulary should be challenging, but not too challenging. News stories and science articles should be high-interest, but not overly complicated (kids will lose interest pronto). Graphs, sidebars, photos . . . all of those features play an important role in sparking kids’ imaginations while maybe, just maybe, teaching them a fact or two along the way. As more and more educators adopt the Common Core Standards in their classrooms, quality narrative nonfiction has become essential to the way kids read, learn, and think.
A daily news app for kids ages 7-10 called News-O-Matic, created by Press4Kids, is the perfect example of how kids (and their parents and teachers) can use technology to their learning advantage. Sure, I enjoyed being part of their writing team. But objectively speaking, it’s still a great tool kids can use to learn about what’s happening in the world around them in a fun and engaging way.
So, too, Scholastic’s award-winning in-classroom magazines. For many years, I have been a contributing writer. I was also an editor at Storyworks, Scholastic’s language arts publication for grades 3-6. Each issue was packed with narrative nonfiction pieces, read-aloud plays adapted from classic stories and popular movies, fiction written by celebrated authors, and poetry. Additional reading and skills-based activities were also included in the print edition and on the magazine’s website, including grammar exercises, compare & contrast essay-writing prompts, test-prep bubble tests, and more.
A small sampling of the articles I have written (pdf files):
- Born To Be Wild (September 2012)
Storyworks: Yesterday & Today
- Stevie Wonder & Taylor Swift (September 2010)
- A Game of Big Stars & A New Sport Is Born (January 2010)
- Mighty Krakatoa and Mt. Saint Helens (November/December 2009)
- Duke Kahanamoku & Laird Hamilton (April/May 2008)
- The First Fast Food & Burger Nation (February/March 2008)
- Frank Duryea & NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne (September 2007)
Storyworks: Bubble Test
- Olympic Dreamer (November/December 2009)
- Speed Racer (October 2009)
- Letters to a Bullied Girl (April/May 2009)
- Battered Brains (January 2009)
- Life Saver (November/December 2008)
- Halloween History (October 2008)
Storyworks: Play Adaptation
- Ramona and Beezus (October 2010)