Working with Student Writers

 

Last week I had the honor and privilege to serve as a judge of student writing at our local PBS affiliate.  Each year PBS sponsors a contest for writers in grades K-3.  (It used to be the Reading Rainbow Writing contest.)  Kids create illustrated stories either at school or at home and a winner and runners-up are chosen for each grade level.  Every other year there is a national contest and local winners are sent to the national competition.

I was part of the team that judged the second grade entries.  We were the busiest by far, with probably close to 100 submissions.  I worked with a couple of veteran judges and thoroughly enjoyed the process.  It made me realize how much I miss working with student writers on a consistent basis.

Add to that experience a website someone shared with me a few days ago and my wheels are turning for next year. Studentpublishing.com allows teachers to manage and monitor student writing projects which eventually get published and bound (softcover) for free.  (You must agree to send home order forms for parents who might want to purchase an additional copy, but there is no obligation.)

Here’s a blurb from their site:

Make every student feel like a published author with FREE books! Each student will receive a free paperback of their own story and illustrations. Books include 12, 16, 24 or 32 story pages, plus title, dedication and “About the Author” biography pages featuring the author’s photo.

Use StudentPublishing®.com’s fun and easy web based book-making tool which is specially designed for schools (No software download or installation required) or use our new PDF upload tool to easily import work students may have already completed. The advanced administrative features generate unique usernames and passwords for each one of your students who log-in directly to their stories while you can edit and monitor progress from your Teacher account. The online illustration tool includes hundreds of paintable backgrounds and stickers which can be used with free-hand drawing tools, or uploaded photographs and scanned in hand drawings. If your students already have written work, use our new “PDF Upload” function to bring their text directly into his or her book.

A testimonial by the colleague who shared it with me convinced me to take a look.  I’m sold on giving it a go with some students– maybe in a recess writing club?

Another thing…turns out this site is a sponsor of the PBS writing contest.  Proceeds from books that do get purchased help support that program.  Serendipity at work!

If you have used this site with kids, please share your experience in the comments!

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