Fourth-graders in Rachel Cattanach’s class were literally coming out of their seats last week in an effort to be called on during a short story-writing exercise.
Gavin Rinks took his turn, prompted by author Sigmund Brouwer to recount a story of his own, about when he and his brother were in a kayak in Florida.
“We saw a big bullfrog, and a turtle came and bit it,” Gavin recalled.
“That’s an interesting start,” Brouwer said. “Now, if it can be a made-up story it will always be better if you make the problem worse. Like what if the turtle was a shark, and what if your brother fell out of the boat?”
Brouwer’s Alto Elementary visit was part of a multi-school tour of the district to kick off this year’s March is Reading Month, themed “Rock and Read.” Brouwer wrote the book “Rock and Roll Literacy,” as well as several series books for children and adults. His visit to Alto was paid for by PTO funds.
Back in Mrs. Cattanach’s class, Mason Stienemeyer had an idea. “What if a shark could eat your house?” he asked.
Brouwer was all over that idea.
“And what if your house was made of beans? And we played hide and seek with the shark? And the shark had really bad gas, so all the bubbles made him easy to find?”
The whole idea of writing good stories, Brouwer explained, is to put a picture in readers’ heads. “And the better the picture, the more people will want to read the stories you write.”