The following is an edited press release from the Fair Haven School District:
“Nothing in the creative process comes out absolutely beautiful the first time around,” children’s books author Lester Laminack recently told a group of Fair Haven parents. “If you focus on what your child did well – rather than what went wrong — then he or she will be encouraged to add more good things to the piece.”
The author of Jake’s 100th Day of School, Saturdays and Teacakes, and Snow Day! shared his advice — including focusing on the right things done in a first draft — during a recent visit to the Fair Haven School District, in which he spoke to groups of students at both Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood schools, hosted writing workshops a Lunch with the Author and parents’ workshop on March 23 and 24.
“If you want your kids to be good writers, read to them — I don’t care if they’re in fifth grade,” Laminack told the assembled parents and teachers on Parent Night. “Read non-fiction books as well, to introduce and discuss the meaning of new words.”
Laminack explained that children’s ‘word banks’, crucial to the creative writing process, are built up mostly at home.
“Be a story-telling family,” advised Laminack, who noted that Saturdays and Teacakes was written to reflect the voice of his grandmother — a master teller of tales. “Writing is about saying something, and without content there is no purpose at all to the mechanics.”
Laminack also discussed the necessity of a writer’s notebook, which he carries with him at all times. “I know that your children have them in school, but encourage them to write in a notebook during the summer months as well,” he said. “So many adventures happen during summer break, and students really should be recording them.”
In addition to children’s literature, Laminack has authored professional books for classroom teachers including Spelling in Use and The Writing Teacher’s Troubleshooting Guide. He is also a contributor to The Writing Workshop: Working through the Hard Parts (and they’re all hard parts), a through overview for establishing and maintaining the writing workshop in K-6 classrooms.
A full-time writer and consultant working with schools throughout the United States, Laminack is Professor Emeritus at Western Carolina University.