Last Thursday, January 31st, I had the privilege to present the awards for the Second Eagle Quills Creative Writing Contest at Timberlin Creek Elementary School in St Johns, Florida.
The contest was promoted by yours truly last year, and it has received the participation of third, fourth, and fifth graders. The topics of the fiction and non-fiction stories included secret agent missions, cast-away adventures, and the value of friendship and kindness.
The purpose of my initiative has been to provide a nurturing space for those children who perhaps don’t excel in sports, math, or art, but who can write well.
In our digital time, texts, tweets, and Instagram posts are replacing tales, letters, and love notes. Therefore, I believe it is paramount to preserve the value of creative prose and cultivate it from an early age.
I have been writing since I was six, and still today, I want to be a writer when I grow up. Now, good writing does not happen by magic. On the contrary, it is a talent that walks along the same path as reading.
One of my oldest memories is a children’s classic encyclopedia that my mother used to read to me every night, feeding my imagination. When I was three-and-a-half years old, independent reading became my vessel to explore the adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ali Baba, and Thumbelina, among many others.
According to my mom, she had to find a new preschool so I could attend kindergarten even though I was almost two years younger. I told her that I wanted to carry notepads for writing in my backpack instead of toys.
Reading aloud to children is like creating a bubble with just the two of you in it, a refuge from a world that often feels as though it is spinning too fast. Little kids treasure this time and it can influence immensely in other aspects of their development.
Pediatric studies have revealed that children who read everyday with their parents not only benefit from a stronger learning ability, but also can improve challenging behaviors such as aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and attention deficit.
Besides, in the time of tablets and smartphones the excuses hold no water. Although I prefer the pleasure of reading a print book, new tech allows access to hundreds of titles in seconds.
One of my favorite quotes from the great Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is the one in the masterpiece Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It says: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.“
All children are born with a brain full of empty pages to be written, and their fascination with the ABC’s is innate. Making a kid fall in love with reading can happen. It only takes a book.
Congratulations again to the winners of the Second Eagle Quills Creative Writing Contest at Timberlin Creek Elementary School. I’ll be proud of you forever.
Thank you for reading and sharing.