Year after year all students at Eastgate Elementary write and publish treasured snapshots for Young Authors Day (YAD), said Sarah Shaw Newsum, parent and YAD event chair. All three of her children have attended Eastgate, with her youngest still a current student. Her children look back at each of their bound books throughout the years and take pride in their work.
“I think the goal of Young Authors Day is for students to see not only the importance of writing, but that it can be fun as well,” said fourth grade teacher Jenny Rosenthal.
Students start preparing for YAD months in advance by brainstorming story ideas, writing drafts and revising their work. “We use a prewriting draft to include the most important part of the story,” said third grader Ethan Schroeder. “The details will come in the rough draft.”
Graphic organizers are also used by students to help them sort out their stories, said third grader Benjamin Wilbert. “It helps with your opening event, your main characters, the closing event, and first middle, second middle and third middle events.” The important part is to “just get your story on paper with the first rough draft,” said Wilbert.
Story topics range from fantasies, sports, biographies and sports.
Wilbert is an avid Sounders fan and chose to write “Joe’s Unforgettable Night.” The story is about a boy named Joe who is seven years old and attending his first Sounders game when he gets separated from his parents, said Wilbert. “It’s about his journey at the Sounders game and how he gets reunited with his parents.”
The day showcases each students’ authored book and the students have the opportunity to share their stories in small groups with all grade levels.
“My favorite part about Young Author’s Day is sharing my story because every year it builds my courage to share my story,” said third grader Adina Margineatu. Wilbert and Schroeder emphatically agreed with Margineatu.
“In the small group book sharing, kindergarteners can see how their books will grow and change over the next six years and fifth graders can see how far their writing has come over the last six years,” said Rosenthal.
Students also have the chance to hear from an author about how they became a writer. This year, students listened to Kelly Milner Halls who described her writing as “weird non-fiction.” Milner Halls explored the idea of becoming a writer in third grade and now has written 40 non-fiction and three fiction stories. She encouraged students to continue writing and said, “Did you notice I’m old? You can take my place!”
Third grade teacher Jannette Rotz views the day as a time for “students to see themselves as writers and to celebrate the progress they have made.”
Now in its 26th year, the event is supported by Eastgate’s PTA and the Bellevue Schools Foundation.
Motivated by the day and dreaming about the future, some students already have plans about writing. Wilbert said, “Once I retire from being a pro soccer player, I’ll write an auto biography about my career.”