Students at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary have real-life examples of the power of writing. And reading. Teacher Rebecca VanSlyke has made it a regular practice of inviting authors into the classroom to read to the students and talk with them about the writing process.
“I love having authors and illustrators come to visit because it lets the kids know that books don’t just ‘happen,'” she says.
In October, VanSlyke welcomed back author Beth Bacon, a fellow member of the Western Washington chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators. Bacon read from her book, “The Book No One Wants to Read.” With a passion for telling stories to reluctant readings, she has in the past been in VanSlyke’s class to read “The Worst Book Ever,” which the students argued was actually the best book they had ever read. Students also have enjoyed her “White Spaces” book.
To prepare for the visit, VanSlyke reads the author’s books to the students and then has a chance to share about the process involved in writing. “Writers are real people who work hard at their stories,” VanSlyke says, “and after the story is finished, writers make their stories better by revising them, usually many times. Something that often surprises the kids is that most books take two years or more to go from an idea to a real book. It’s also good for kids to realize that writing is something that they can do now and in the future.”