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Teen Takes Writing Inspiration to Fellow Students

By katie Eder
 | Jan 28, 2016

Katie Eder“Thank you for letting me have a voice. No one has ever done that for me before,” was the first full sentence out of Alana’s mouth after the first Kids Tales Creative Writing Workshop. Alana was a shy girl and often kept to herself, but on the last day of her Kids Tales workshop, she called me over to her table and told me she never had her own journal before. She explained she only got to write in school and, even then, only about what the teachers assigned. Outside of school, she was shuffled constantly between her parents’ houses and rarely had a chance to voice her feelings. Kids Tales gave her that voice.

I started Kids Tales, a nonprofit that runs creative writing workshops for kids ages 8–12, two years ago when I was in eighth grade. Starting in elementary school, I had the opportunity to participate in creative writing classes, workshops, and camps. When I got to middle school, I realized many kids don’t get the kind of opportunities I had. Many kids like Alana don’t have any educational opportunities outside of school. They don’t have the materials, the space, or the encouragement to write. When I started Kids Tales, and still today, my goal is for kids whose families don’t have the resources for writing experiences outside of school to get the opportunity to write and the chance to find their voice.

During a Kids Tales workshop, kids spend one week brainstorming, writing, and editing their own short story. At the end of the week, the stories are assembled in a collection and self-published as an anthology on Amazon.com.

The teachers in Kids Tales workshops are teenagers—one of the main components of Kids Tales workshops is that kids teach kids. Kids Tales teachers will tell you that getting to teach kids to write is an eye-opening experience. Teaching a weeklong workshop to 10 younger kids has a big impact on the lives of those kids, their families and communities, and even the world. Writing is one of those things that, once you inspire kids to do it, they never want to stop doing.

Kids Tales started out small in the summer of 2014 with two workshops in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. After seeing how much the kids in Milwaukee loved the workshops, we expanded for the summer of 2015 to Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC.

Kids Tales, an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit, won the American Field Service (AFS) Project: Change, Vision in Action award and taught a Kids Tales workshop in Colombia, South America in June 2015. We were lucky to be honored by the International Literacy Association in its inaugural 30 Under 30 list and were awarded the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Junior Eureka Award for creativity and innovation. It was a busy year.

Now to plan Summer 2016. Kids Tales will again be teaching in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Washington DC. We are working with the National Writing Project to expand to more U.S. cities. Kids Tales will continue our partnership with AFS and will teach Kids Tales workshops in more countries worldwide.

My dream is for all kids, in all corners of the world, to be published authors and hold in their hands their own book. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone should have the chance to tell that story. If you would like to learn more about Kids Tales go to our website, Kidstales.org. If you are a high school teacher and think your students might want to become Kids Tales teachers, please send us an e-mail.

Katie Eder is a 15-year-old award-winning author from Wisconsin. She founded Kids Tales, Inc., and is the executive director. She was recently honored as one of ILA’s 30 Under 30.

 

5 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Jenifer | May 30, 2017
    I love the idea. I have done a lot in with my students and you bever know when a best seller can be created
  2. Codyann Catlin | May 28, 2017

    I have a few students whom I haveen encouraging to write their stories.

    I will love to startt my own Kids Tale here

  3. HP | Apr 23, 2016
    Great blog!  Everyone does have a story to tell and it is incredibly exciting that you are giving students the opportunity to tell their own story!
  4. Dayna C. | Apr 11, 2016
    Great blog! Love it when the love for writing becomes evident with my students!
  5. <a href="http://www.writers.com.pk/dissertation-writing/">dissertation writers</a> | Jan 29, 2016
    Much thanks to you such a great amount of for the exact useful article, extremely supportive to the Students and I trust you will continue presenting and following with respect to on this.

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