Never Too Young to Start Writing. By Ann Evans

Ann Evans, author visit at Sowe Valley Primary
You can never start writing and publishing too early! A few months ago a local primary school got in touch to see if I would run an after school's club with the aim of producing a school magazine. I imagine they invited me after a previous author school visit around World Book Day. 

It was a paying job, so I thought, why not? Although I only get paid for the hour I'm there – and not the hours I later discovered I was spending knocking the kids' work into shape. Still, it was enjoyable work.

So, the fifteen children turned up at our Monday afternoon's after school magazine club at Sowe Valley Primary, and I admit it took me quite a few weeks to remember all the names. And the fact that it was children from all years made me wonder if it was going to be tricky working with multi age groups. It went from little Ellie in year 1 (aged 5) to Kayleigh in year 6 (aged 11).

But oddly enough, it seems when it comes to writing and getting published, there's a common bond and desire to gather the info and get the articles published. My year 1 pupil wasn't shy in coming forward with her ideas for the magazine, and she was one of the first children to hand me a finished piece of work.

Young Harry from year 4, would have given TV sports presenter Harry Carpenter a run for his money, with his first football match report, written with all the style of a true sports journalist!

Jake was almost not allowed to join by the teachers, for fear of him being disruptive. He is a bit loud, true, but he's written articles on his own pets, and interviewed others about their pets and days out. And even written a poem. Go Jake!

Imogen has been a little star, with lots of written articles, presented well too. And a full page story, for our Back Page Fiction slot – which actually ended up in the middle of the mag, but hey ho! The school is forgiven for not printing the pages up in exactly the order I wanted them. A lesson to me actually, to present it in a foolproof fashion. I'll know next time.

As the weeks have gone on, it's been fun seeing what they children could come up with. They've interviewed their teachers to find out 'little known facts' for the 'How Well Do You Know Your Teacher' slot. Ravleen spent her free time making crafts items which we photographed. Bethany is definitely going to be a food writer when she's older – providing more recipes than we can use. They've come up with articles on friendship and school council, and reports of achievements. Not to mention jokes and puzzles.

With the summer school holidays fast approaching, we had quite a rush at the end to meet the deadline of getting the magazine printed and distributed before school broke up. But my team of young reporters pulled out all the stops and supplied articles, jokes and puzzles to fill in the blank spaces. They were handing me final scribbled scraps of paper with last minute news/articles on as their parents were waiting to collect them. 

So it's been an experience. It's also been fun and worthwhile just to see how the children have worked together. I'm curious to see how many of them will have been writing during their school holidays, as I suggested. So, come September hopefully we'll start all over again with issue 2 of The WOW Magazine. (Putting the WOW! in Sowe)

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Wendy H. Jones said…
What a superb opportunity and idea. Sounds like everyone had a whale of a time.

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