Point of View is Child’s Play
By Sandra Elzie
I thought I’d write today about a recent experience I had in sharing about writing,
My friend, Charlotte Tyson, is a 3rd grade teacher at Stockbridge Elementary School and since they have been studying creative writing, she asked if I would be willing to come talk to her class. I’m always willing to try new things and anyone will attest to the fact that I love to talk with people (even miniature ones) about writing, so I agreed.
I started out with a plan…a list of things I wanted to cover that I e-mailed to Charlotte ahead of time to get her input. When she told me that they had already been studying all these things and my talk would be a good refresher, I was impressed. No one ever taught me at ten years old about Point of View, tone and these types of writing elements. I seem to recall learning about using the five senses, but that’s about it.
What a fun experience! I sat in a chair with 19 youngsters sitting around me on the floor, eager to hear what a real, live published author had to say.
They were polite and attentive, raising their hands to ask questions and waiting their turn. When I asked for a volunteer to be a worm and one to be a bird, about 17 hands shot up…even to be a worm! I used an illustration of a worm coming out of his hole in the ground and turning his face to the warm sun, but when he opens his eyes, he sees the bird above him on the tree branch looking down at him. Then I explained that the bird had just landed on the limb and was very hungry. The question for each child…sorry, I mean, for the worm and the bird, was, “As a worm, what are you thinking when you see the bird?” What was the worm’s answer? “Frightened and I want to go back in my hole.” And what did the bird think when she saw the worm? “Breakfast!” was the bird’s answer. There you have Point of View as explained by 3rd graders.
So what does this discussion have to do with us as readers and writers? I think maybe we spend so much time working and talking with our fellow writers and dealing in the adult world that we sometimes forget that there are a lot of young people out there who are the up and coming generations of readers and writers. We need to encourage them to read more and to be creative in their thinking and in their writing. I think we also need to encourage them to think big.
I took a printed manuscript of almost 60,000 words (recycled from last year’s Finish The Book Contest) and watched their eyes widen in surprise. Wouldn’t it be exciting to share your love of writing with a child and someday have that child tell you that their quest to write and be published began the day they met you? Wow!
So, if you’ve had opportunities to share your love of reading or writing with young people, tell us about it. And for those who write, how old were you when the writing bug bit you?