Weekly Feature

2018-01-31 / Front Page

Writing workshops to expand students’ skills, creativity


Through a series of workshops, students can nurture a love of writing outside the classroom.

Beginning Feb. 10, all middle and high school students are invited to take advantage of writing workshops that focus on special topics and help participants develop their writing skills.

“Students don’t have that much opportunity to elaborate and to research what they’re writing,” said Dr. Tom Reigstad, a Ken-Ton School District Board of Education trustee and emeritus professor of English at Buffalo State College.

He noted that the workshops will serve as a supplement to classroom learning and provide students with the chance to do more writing. Topics could include fiction writing, memoirs, play writing and poetry, among other styles.

Led by Reigstad and Rita Pollard, adjunct professor of English at Niagara University, the workshops will also emphasize how reading is connected to writing.

“The basic skills of writing expression are vital,” said Reigstad, adding that the skill set can assist in preparing students for college or a career. “If we can foster them outside of the classroom, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Reigstad and Pollard both earned their doctoral degrees in composition and rhetoric at the University at Buffalo; taught English at the secondary level and in higher education; and have served as directors of college tutorial writing centers.

The workshops will take place at 10 a.m. one Saturday each month from February through May in Room 105 at the Kenmore Middle School Building, 155 Delaware Road.

After each workshop, there will also be time for one-on-one conferences on any writing projects or topics.

According to the school district, the following topics are scheduled:

“Writing a Short Story? Know Your Characters!” with Pollard on Saturday, Feb. 10. The workshop will lead individuals through a few brief exercises designed to help them explore and develop a fictional character.

“Are You Stuck? How to Avoid Writer’s Block” with Reigstad on Saturday, March 17. The workshop will offer tips for regaining momentum and composing rhythm.

“How Do I Sound? Developing Your Writing Style” with Pollard on Saturday, April 21. In the workshop, participants will discuss and practice a few style options that can enhance their writing.

“Is Your First Draft Clumsy? Ways to Effectively Reread, Revise and Polish” with Reigstad on Saturday, May 19. The workshop will demonstrate techniques for “re-seeing” an initial draft in order to make thoughtful and well-informed changes.

Reigstad said they are hoping to continue the workshops in the fall with more topics. He gave an example that one may include how to write college application essays.

The workshops are part of the After-School Writing Center. For more information, visit www.ktufsd.org/writingcenter.

email: aderosa@beenews.com

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