Home' Capricornus Quarterly : July 2013 Contents ‘Rock star’ authors open new chapters
Schools and books have a lot in
common according to Mrs Jodie Moore,
The Rockhampton Grammar School’s
Head of English and convenor of the
School’s first Literary Festival in April.
“ Both impact upon the people who come
in contact with them for years after the
encounter, sometimes echoing for a lifetime.
Both are full of characters and plots and
pictures and learning,’’ Mrs Moore said.
Authors and illustrators from Central
Queensland, Brisbane, Sydney and
Melbourne headlined the School festival
and shared their experience with students,
introducing Middle School students
to the world of professional writing.
“When students are flooded by doom
and gloom on the news and [exposed]
to entertainment that focuses on the
trivial, reading a book expands their
ideas and gives them counter point to
help them navigate,’’ Mrs Moore said.
Brad Haynes, Year 9, was inspired by
visiting author Krista Bell to start transferring
his passion for writing into actual stories –
starting with tales about his family. Brad was
also encouraged by Michael Gerard Bauer,
acquiring several of the author’s books.
For many festival authors a reading and
writing passion developed later in life – a
passion they now share with young readers .
Acclaimed author Michael Gerard
Bauer (pictured above), of Brisbane,
was an Australian English teacher
before becoming a full-time author of
children’s and young adult books.
The author of Don’t Call Me Ishmael
explained to workshop guests that he
becomes very emotional writing the
final scenes of his books having become
so connected with his characters
during the writing process.
“ You write about your passions and
interests and if you have that to start
with you can put that passion into
your writing. Just write as often as
you can,’’ Mr Bauer told them.
Mr Bauer liked writing at school, but never
went home and wrote a story for himself. He
initially wanted to start writing song lyrics
and then short stories – it was then that
one of the short stories grew into a novel.
“ The writing process is different for
everyone, but for me it’s
about thinking of a story. I
don’t start working on the
computer until I can see
the ending of the book.’’
Writing and reading go
hand-in-hand he says.
“If you don’t read
it’s just a case of that you haven’t found
the right book for you. When you find that
book you will want to keep reading.
“ The goal of parents shouldn’t be
to convert their sons or daughters
into avid readers – just give them a
positive experience of reading.’ ’
The festival also ser ved to launch
a new book by Central Queensland
author and former teacher Royce
Bond, The Princess and The Pirate.
Writing a book is like planning a new world
for Mr Bond, who leans on his walking stick
as he prepares to introduce his new book.
“I t ’s like a house foundation; if you
have no plan the house will fall down.’ ’
“I want people to slip into a new world when
they read my books and daydream to a world
where they can become someone else; a
world in which RGS teacher Jodie Moore
hopes they may one day become an author.
“If every student walks away from the
Festival with just a single idea that they
might try at some point this will have
been a huge success,’’ Mrs Moore said.
Write about your passions and interests
and if you have that to start with you can
put that passion into your writing. Just
write as often as you can. Michael Bauer, visiting author
superheroes in the literacy arena and deserve
capes emblazoned with the letter ‘S’.
Personally, I have found the literacy
process to be ‘invigorating’.
On one occasion, I sought my Year 12
English students’ opinions about a trai ts rubric
which was designed for Year 9 expository
writing. Silence across the classroom
spoke volumes. One student asked why
they hadn’t been given it before, and their
collective decision to keep the rubric for
their own use was testimony to its power.
I especially look forward to working
closely with Head of English, Mrs Jodie
Moore, to further establish the traits within
the English Department. Her extensive
knowledge of English curriculums and
literacy practices will be put to great use
as we move into this new landscape.
Dr Michelle Waller, RGS Literacy Team Leader,
believes that the process of adopting the
trai ts across the curriculum will be a lengthy
but highly valuable process. Her guidance
and intricate understanding of pedagogical
practices are paramount to the success of
this program. She is our ‘lighthouse’: ever
ready to guide lost ships in dangerous seas.
Before this article truly descends into
sounding something akin to a clichéd farewell
speech, it is suffice to say that we are
genuinely excited about this new development
because we are seeing that it has the power to
revolutionise the way we help students write.
At RGS, the traits allow us the privilege
of being serious contenders in this
modern, ‘literacy race’. One can only
image what the future will hold.
Until then, we will continue to allow life to
happen to us, write about it with courage,
passion and conviction and not let words
stand in the way of telling our stories. CQ
Left: Year 7 students Casey Winning,
Claire Clancy and Mason Connolly.
Below: Mrs Elizabeth Doyle, in the Library with
her Year 9 students, uses self-evaluations,
and peer and teacher conferencing
as part of their writing process.
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