Virginia Schools Introduce Kids to Award Winning Author

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Middle school students attending two Virginia Schools have had the opportunity to meet an award-winning author. Sharon Flake has written a work of fiction about a 13-year-old African American girl who struggles to fit in with her peers. The book, Skin I’m In, has universal appeal to students as well as adults. Kids like those attending Virginia Schools have a great novel to read that conveys an even greater message – to be happy with who you are; and Virginia Schools students may gain some insight into how others feel along the way.
 
Remember those awkward days of junior high or middle school? You felt an intense desire to be like everyone else; to stand out was the last thing on earth that you wanted. To stand out from the crowd meant that you were different, and would probably be teased, ridiculed, or even bullied because of it. Flake’s book helps students come to grips with this issue.
 
The message that the Virginia Public Schools want to send, in addition to this important life lesson, is to get kids more excited about becoming literate. They see the book as a way to inspire reluctant readers in the Virginia Schools to pick up this book, or any other book, and read. Being able to read fluently and with complete understanding is a necessity of life. We must be able to read in order to function in society. You have to read street signs, packages at grocery stores, instructions for assembling household products (like your kid’s bike), and bills. Ours is a print-saturated world, and there’s no getting around reading. For those who can’t read, it’s is a life that is sorely lacking in the wonderful world of words. The leaders of the Virginia Schools want to help their students become more and more literate, and to love doing it. While you can’t force a kid to love to read, you can keep trying, until you find a book or genre that they’re interested in. That’s usually the key that unlocks the joy of reading for kids who are initially resistant.
 
Another benefit of the author coming out to the Virginia Schools is that kids can see that authors are real people. Maybe some of them dream of becoming an author themselves one day; meeting and talking with a published author can bring that dream one step closer to reality. Knowing that others have succeeded is a great motivation to work hard yourself. Hopefully, the students in the Virginia Schools who’ve had this opportunity will be inspired by it; whether to read more or to become writers themselves who have attended Virginia Schools.
 
Virginia Schools recognize the importance of not only helping students become more literate and excited about it, but to provide those same Virginia Schools students with real-life examples of what it means to be a writer. After all, to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader. To be a great reader means that you’ll be an even greater writer. In this writer’s humble opinion, that’s definitely something worth working for. Go Virginia Schools!

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