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Telling stories Amaree Slaughter Amaree Slaughter, left, and Yelena Castillo write stories as part of the Farmhouse at Wildwood Metropark in Toledo as part of the Women's Initiative.
Amaree Slaughter, left, and Yelena Castillo write stories as part of the Farmhouse at Wildwood Metropark in Toledo as part of the Women's Initiative.
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Published: Wednesday, 4/24/2013

Planting seeds for future authors

BY ROSE RUSSELL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Quantrell Adams, left, and Trinity Crowell hold a chart depicting a method of writing stories. Quantrell Adams, left, and Trinity Crowell hold a chart depicting a method of writing stories.
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The third graders in Linda Graham’s class at Rosary Cathedral know how to compose a book. They showed their talent last week during a trip to Wildwood Metropark, the site of a WordShop program sponsored by the Women’s Initiative of United Way.

The 22 pupils, along with Miss Graham, members of the initiative, and others along to assist in the illustrating and storytelling venture — including Bowling Green State University students who filmed the event and a professional illustrator — had taken over three rooms on the first floor of the park farmhouse. Mary Kennedy of the women’s group guided the youngsters in the inventive effort.

Proving they understand what it takes to write a book — a plot, characters, title, and setting — 9-year-old Trinity Crowell gave the sister and brother characters their names: Amanda and Xavier. They also know the necessity of making a story flow. When Mrs. Kennedy asked for a word other than “fast” to describe how quickly the characters ran, 8-year-old Quantrell Adams promptly pulled from his personal thesaurus and offered “sprinted,” to describe how the characters moved in the dark through the canopy of trees.

Paris Harton shows United Way's Kirsta Nagy her story during a workshop to learn how to write stories. Paris Harton shows United Way's Kirsta Nagy her story during a workshop to learn how to write stories.
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It’s easy to guess the setting: the metropark, of course. And after some discussion and several possible choices, they settled on the title: “Wildwood Metropark Adventure.”

While the pupils were as wormy and squirmy as you might expect third graders to be, they were largely attentive. Not surprisingly, though, Mrs. Kennedy had to do some occasional hand clapping in a snappy little rhythm designed to recapture the young wandering minds.

When she asked who wanted to read, several children in the enthusiastic group thrust their hands into the air. When asked to describe editing, another little girl said, “It means that you change things that you have written.” Indeed.

The WordShop is a Women’s Initiative pilot effort that began at Rosary Cathedral last fall. Carol Gee, the initiative’s marketing chairman, said similar endeavors are taking place nationwide.

“The children have an experience and they put that experience in their own words,” Ms. Gee said. “We think the whole creative writing process is key to children’s learning. We call it ‘letting out their inner author.’ ”

At the end of WordShop, the children write their own story conclusions. Their projects are later completed with their photographs put inside the backs of the books, just as one finds in real books.

Jeremiah Clark writes a story. Jeremiah Clark writes a story.
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Meanwhile, the local Women’s Initiative will celebrate its 2013 Spring Event Thursday at the Hotel at UTMC, the former Medical College of Ohio, on Glendale Avenue. The keynote speaker is Connie Lindsey, national president of the board of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. In this region, the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio serves about 53,000 girls in a 32-county area that includes western Ohio and parts of Indiana.

Tickets for Thursday’s program are $25 in advance and $35 at the door; student tickets are $15. Networking begins at 5 p.m. and the program starts at 6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the WordShop.

Contact Rose Russell at: rrussell@theblade.com or 419-724-6178.



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