“This is the climax!” Bexley Children’s Librarian Victoria Windsor holds up a picture book. “If you’re standing in front of the firing squad, this is where they lift the rifles! If you’re standing at the edge of a cliff, this is where you begin to fall!”
The students are riveted. But while the book is a picture book, this isn’t story time, and the students are fourth and fifth graders studying writing. Ms. Windsor is using the Mo Willems book to illustrate the elements of story: hook, character, obstacle, climax and resolution.
It’s all part of the R. L. Stine Creative Writing Workshop, a four-week program held at Bexley Public Library and supported by BEF’s R.L. Stine Endowment, which was funded with a gift from the bestselling author in 1996.
Bexley native and bestselling author Stine was the inspiration for the workshop, says Bexley High School English teacher Dr. Michelle Rogers, who designed the curriculum. “Each week, we use a touchstone book for class discussion, a children’s book that we can read quickly and break apart into story elements,” says Rogers.
The workshop, which is free, drew students from all three elementary schools, evenly split between boys and girls. The class filled up quickly, and plans are in the works to repeat the program.
Rogers and Windsor both participate in the teaching and are assisted by BHS volunteer Kelley Glasgow as well as two students from Capital University. Class time is used for instruction, with students writing at home between classes. The program will conclude this week with a reading by students for classmates and family.
To learn more about the R.L. Stine endowment, click here