Students learn joy of creative writing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 28, 2004

Last Wednesday, a select group of W.O. Parmer students were treated to a day with noted children’s author Faye Gibbons.

The Georgia native, who now makes her home in north Alabama, traveled to Greenville to share her gift for writing with local students in a day long writing workshop.

It wasn’t the author’s first visit to the school, said W.O. Parmer Principal Carole Teague.

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&uot;We had Ms. Gibbons visit us last year…she showed our students how the writing process works, shared some of her publications and explained to them how she got started in writing. The students thoroughly enjoyed it,&uot; said Teague.

Gibbons’ first visit was such a success the school decided to invite her back.

&uot;I wanted some of our students to have a chance to put some of this into practice and write stories of their own – and we are delighted to have such a renowned author here to work with them,&uot; Teague explained.

During the workshop, Gibbons, a former teacher, read excerpts from her own works and those of other authors, and encouraged the young writers to create their own stories rich with sensory details.

&uot;Remember to add words that show sight, sound, touch and smell to your writing – it will make your story more real,&uot; she told the youngsters.

Creativity was the watchword for the day.

&uot;It’s O.K. for this exercise if a word isn’t spelled right…you can even get a little messy. Concentrate on those sensory words,&uot; Gibbons said, as the children took pencils in hand to write their stories.

Teague is excited about the opportunity for her students to develop writing skills and a love for writing &uot;with creativity and expression&uot;.

The teachers at W.O. Parmer selected 22 of the school’s &uot;most promising&uot; students to participate in the workshop, Teague said.

&uot;We believe it’s important to reward our students who show talent in this area by giving them an opportunity to work with a published author,&uot; the principal added.

Gibbons, the author of a number of well-received books including &uot;Night in the Barn&uot;, &uot;Full Steam Ahead&uot;, &uot;Emma Jo’s Song&uot; and &uot;The Day the Picture Man Came&uot; credits school librarians and teachers with developing her love for reading and writing.

Growing up in an impoverished mountain home without running water or electricity, Gibbons did not attend school until the age of nine. Once she entered the classroom, the future author discovered a whole new world through books – a world she now enjoys sharing with students across the state.

&uot;I believe there is a really strong reading-writing connection…workshops like these are so important in helping students develop that love for both,&uot; said Teague.

The students chosen to participate in the writer’s workshop included Alex Garrett, Sarah Elizabeth Godwin, Absalom Adams, Samantha Sipper, Kate Crenshaw, Kelsy Hall, Kayla Herring, Tytyionna McQueen, Adrianna Bradley, Jarquez Riley, Brandi Coker, Miranda Philen, Tristan Price, Shelby Simmons, Erica McNaughton, Amelia Grider, Christine Loveless, Richard Brown, Tanesha Crenshaw, Jarquis Owens, Tramea Loveless and Faith Keeney.