Last updated 3 years ago
Have you read P. D. James’s “Death Comes to Pemberley” or Laurie R. King’s “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”? Maybe you’ve watched the popular TV series “Once Upon a Time.” If so, you know Fan Fiction.
These stories use characters and settings from existing works to create new, original stories. This hybrid form of writing, once criticized as “poaching,” is now seen as having the potential to build writing skills far beyond traditional practices.
Here are some of the benefits Fan Fiction can offer:
Generates enthusiasm for writing
When we read a book or watch a movie we love, we never want to leave our favorite characters. Fan Fiction lets us continue the story and direct it wherever we want it to go. Beginning to write with our imaginations already alight removes the roadblock of the blank page and makes writing exciting.
Broadens our concept of how writing is done
Writing traditionally meant a single person writing alone. This practice is giving way to a larger concept of creating collaboratively. Characters from one person’s imagination can interact with those imagined by another person. Dialog exchanged between two (or more) characters can flow like real speech. Real people can enter fictional worlds.
Fan Fiction sites inspired by popular books and films make up a whole new genre of writing and attract huge numbers of new writers. HarryPotterFanfiction.com boasts “over 80,000 new stories.” “Star Trek,” “Twilight,” and “Pride and Prejudice” sites also attract thousands.
Describing how teens collaborate on a story they are writing together at an online Fan Fiction site, Dr. Angela Thomas explains that the “processes of reviewing each other’s individual work, recognizing each other’s strengths and then using each other’s strengths has given them the opportunity to produce writing that truly excites them and motivates them to write further.”
Helps young writers develop skill and confidence
Dr. Thomas suggests that feedback, “praise and supportive critique” from other young writers posting their work on Fan Fiction sites may be especially helpful for beginning writers. “More experienced writers help emerging writers. The role-playing offers less experienced writers a safe framework for learning how to contribute meaningfully and in character to a storyline (sometimes one sentence at a time).”
Fan Fiction is evolving into a whole new genre. It is opening new possibilities in building writing skills and digital literacy. As with any interaction on the Web, parents need to help kids find online communities that make them feel safe and welcome. Browse a few sites and read reviews and guidelines to find sites that screen material for appropriate content.
When you come by The Literacy and Language Center, let us know about the Fan Fiction you’re planning to write. We’re looking forward to seeing what you can imagine!
Last updated 3 years ago
Good things come in threes. Or maybe in fives, sevens, or more! In honor of Children's Book Week, we're exploring books in series.
Some books have magic. Settings feel like real places and action makes us hold our breaths. When we love characters so much we never want to let them go, it's great to discover other books in the same series.
Series like the Harry Potter books or the Chronicles of Narnia follow the same characters from book to book. Others, feature new characters but use similar plot situations in each book. Here are some examples of series that are waiting to captivate your kids' imaginations:
The Oz Series
Only a few of the residents of the Land of Oz were in The Wizard of Oz movie. The 14 books in L. Frank Baum's series introduce you to amazing characters with all sorts of talents. Another advantage: You can download these books for free from Amazon Kindle or Project Gutenberg.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton / The Littles by John Peterson
Find out what we “human beans” are missing! These richly developed series feature families of tiny people who struggle to live in the world of "big" people. Both series have inspired movies and TV versions, but the original books are still the most endearing.
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids
In this series of over 50 books, strange beings may show up anywhere. “Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots” was the first of the series, published in 1991! Since author Debbie Dadey is a former teacher, many of the plots reflect kids' school experiences.
The Middle School Series
Follow the adventures of lovable, hard-luck-seeking Rafe Khatchadorian in James Patterson's popular series. Reading some of the books first will make Patterson's interactive website even more fun.
Visit your library or bookstore to find these and other series kids have enjoyed, adults still read, and we all still can love.
Tell us about your favorite book series the next time you visit The Literacy and Language Center.
Last updated 3 years ago
Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30 will be the big finish for National Poetry Month. Throughout the day, you can share whole poems or just the parts that warm your heart.
Here are some suggestions for sharing your poem:
- Make bookmarks on cardstock featuring your poem and any decorations you want to add. Give copies to everyone you see.
- If your house has a window that can be seen from the street, write your poem on a big sign and put it up for view.
- Post it on your blog.
- Email or text a copy to your friends.
- Tweet it with hashtag #pocketpoem or use other social media to share it.
- Make your poem into an image to post on Facebook.
Want to find a new poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day?
The Poetry Foundation is a good place to start. Visit Children's Poet Laureate Ken Nesbitt's site for funny poems, poetry-writing lessons, podcasts and more. You might also want to try out their Poetry App (currently free!)
Poetry is everywhere
Check out your library (the Reference Librarian will be delighted to help you!). Want a poem right now? Look online for poems about your favorite city, the sport you love, or animals that fascinate you. Obsessed with food? Try Pablo Neruda's "Ode to the Artichoke." Like frogs or philosophy? Maybe Emily Dickenson's well-known "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" is just right.
Next time you visit The Literacy and Language Center, bring your poem along. We'd love to read it too.