Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER? Read to Write

Caroline, Age 10
When I was ten years old, I met a girl who loved to read as much as I did.  We went to the library together, checked out books, and talked about what we had read.  One day we decided to have a project:  we would read all the books in the public library!  Week by week we systematically went through the library shelves pulling out the books we hadn't read. Did we read all the books in the library?  Not quite, but we read a lot.  And I realize now that my love of books that began when I was a child was the perfect preparation for becoming a writer.

If you want to be a writer, there is no better way to get started than to be familiar with the books that have already been written. My basic words of advice to aspiring writers are to read as much as possible.  It is also important to know your audience.  Writing for a three year old has different challenges from writing for a ten year old. Go to a bookstore or library and browse the shelves.  Look at how long the books are, the relationship of text to illustration, the variety of topics for each age level.  Try reading the text aloud and listen to how it sounds.

Of course, every writer must also write and, like every other skill, writing improves with practice.  As you work on your stories, use what you've learned through your reading to improve your writing!

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