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Workshops Work: A Parent's Guide to Facilitating Writer's Workshops for Kids Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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As a homeschooling mom who has a bookshelf of [most likely] fabulous books I haven't read yet on learning and parenting, this book managed to make itself readable by presenting the first half of the chapters in a short, readable format. I found that I could read a chapter as my morning coffee water was heating, which is a perfect amount of time for me. The topics range from what kids can write about to structuring the workshop and guiding kids to provide sensitive, constructive feedback. I did find the 'toolbox' section at the end was a bit intimidating for me, but the text immediately before that section advises the readers to view the toolbox section as supplemental material, or even not to read it all if they choose. Readers should take that advice seriously! I didn't know that I felt intimidated afterwards, but I did put down the book for a while. There are a number of great resources in that section, however, so avail yourself of them if it doesn't become a barrier.
The last thing I'd say about this book is that you will probably have your own unique questions about your own abilities to begin leading a workshop, or perhaps your own child's enthusiasm about the process. Patricia encourages folks to post questions or feedback in the community section on her website/blog, and you can tell that she genuinely wants to continue the dialogue with whoever is interested or who needs help and support. I will be logging onto it soon!
By the time I'd finished reading this book, I felt pretty confident that I could facilitate a writing workshop for kids. That's some feat, considering I'd picked up the book hoping that I could force it onto another homeschooling friend, in the hope that she would lead it.
For me it was liberating because Zaballos makes the whole thing seem really straightforward. Provide a space for children, let them write without constraints on spelling, punctuation, etc., let them dictate their writing to parent-scribes. By providing the audience, she argues, we kindle the flame of a love of writing, and by letting go of the rule book we allow children to develop their unique writing voices. The Ps and Qs will come in time.
The first half of the book explains how to go about running a writer's workshop. The author covers topics such as how to give feedback, what to do at the first meeting, how often to meet. The book is just specific enough to make you feel as though you're in safe hands, but as another reviewer said, there's also a sense of pleasant ambiguity: what will the children who attend bring with them?!
The toolbox section is invaluable because it points the reader to resources to expand one's learning. Zaballos recommends plenty of other books on related topics, and I now have a long list of other books to explore. I would have loved a list of writing explorations the author has used in her workshops, but perhaps this is expecting the magician to reveal her secrets!
Until I've actually run a workshop, I don't know how it will go. But what I can say is that as a result of reading Workshops Work, I feel excited about the prospect.