We are glad to share this class project as an excellent example of using our readings to develop creative writing skills with your students. A class of 2nd year high school level students, 2^BS, from the Liceo delle Scienze Applicate ’G. Marconi’ in Tortona sent us a story they wrote as a sequel to our level 1 reader, Next Door by Robert Campbell. You can find out more about the story here and read a great interview with the author here.
The class of 15 students wrote a lovely sequel to this science-fiction story. I talked to Nadia Roncoli, their English language teacher about the project.
Q: Hello Nadia, can you tell me about your class?
Nadia: Well, actually I’m no longer their English language teacher, but I do know that they are still very good students, well versed in English and ,what’s more important, very curious and imaginative.
Q: How long have you been using graded readers with them?
Nadia: I used graded readers for two years with them, and I’m still using graded readers with all my six classes at the moment.
Q: How did you have the idea of writing a sequel?
Nadia: Actually, I was testing them on “Next Door”: the plot, the characters, the main themes, and so on when suddenly a spontaneous question came to my mind: “What do you think will happen to Eoin on Medacalon?” and that was the beginning of our adventure…
Q: How did you organize the project and how long did it take you to write the story?
Nadia: Well, I created a group for the class, 2^BS, on Wikispaces and, after writing the first sentence describing the beginning of the Eoin’s new life on planet Medacalon, I asked each student to contribute towards it writing as many lines as they wanted.
Q: Have your students written any other stories?
Nadia: No, they haven’t.
Q: How do you motivate your class to read? What do they like reading?
Nadia: After this successful experience, I try to motivate my students to read any kind of stories: adventure, fantasy, romantic, science-fiction, detective stories and I must admit that Helbling Languages offers a wide range of graded books from which I can pick and choose. I also point out and help them understand the importance of learning as many words as possible if they want to learn English well.
Q: Do you have any tips on teaching reading?
Nadia: To be honest, I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice, I still need to take advice! Anyway, out of my experience I can say that the most important step is creating interest in the story they are reading and, when it is possible, creating connections between them and the characters.
Q: What kind of story would you like to read with your class?
Nadia: Well, I’d like to read a story which is a mixture of reality and imagination, but, above all has a strong moral for my students!
Nadia: It was my pleasure!
You can read sample pages from the reader and listen to sample audio clips here.
You can download and read the story written by the class here.