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Fun Stuff

Remember how important books and creativity were in your own childhood? Many kids today, however, struggle with reading, writing, and critical thinking, e.g., about 40% of U.S. students cannot read at a basic level. It’s worse for disadvantaged students, many of whom don’t have books at home.

 

Reasons for a decline in children’s literacy include lingering effects of the Covid pandemic; societal turmoil; and excessive device usage. Some educators, like Jeremy Adams, wonder if there will be long-term effects for increased disengagement and apathy.

Children today can feel like they are going from one crisis to another. Set adrift in a dangerous squall, with no anchor, many are seeking a beacon of hope for a better future—but often feel all alone, fighting to keep their heads above water.

 

The good news is that, as parents and grandparents, we have an opportunity to provide kids with more opportunities at home so they can become lifelong learners and succeed in the ever-changing global gig economy. 

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Rick Williams KidLit

I’m a retired bioscience executive and “50-Year Entrepreneur,” with much of that time spent helping kids and families deal with serious medical problems. 

 

Reading and creative writing played a key role in my childhood—helping to break the cycle of family dysfunctionality—and led me to become a lifelong learner with a career focused on technology innovation.

At the age of eight, my grandson Brady decided we should co-develop a “Lewis and Tolkien” fantasy adventure for middle school kids, which became Star Life Keepers. I’m also now working with four grandchildren to create new books and series.

Learn, Collaborate, & Innovate

More than ever, parents, grandparents, and other relative must use literacy to engage, encourage, and empower their children. Many of today’s kids will have several careers and need to be entrepreneurial, agile, and imaginative for their long-term success.

See Blogs and Essays in RESOURCES

Parents who watched The Social Dilemma likely saw great irony in Netflix’s 2020 documentary. Silicon Valley leaders often send their own sons and daughters to traditional reading-writing-and-arithmetic schools, such as Waldorf schools where students don’t use computers until high school.

More than ever, kids must continue to learn, collaborate, and innovate. Many will have several careers and need to be entrepreneurial, agile, and imaginative for their long-term success.

KIDS

  • 40% of all U.S. students—and 70% of low-income 4th graders—cannot read at a basic level

  • Struggling readers suffer socially and emotionally​

  • 85% of juvenile offenders suffer problems with reading

  • Reading problems are a major determinant for U.S. poverty

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory

The U.S. Surgeon General raised his own alarm in the December 2021 advisory, which reinforced the CDC’s concern about children having “problems with thinking and judgment, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.” He advocated for a commitment to improve catchup learning and well-being among U.S. children. 

 

For many kids, things haven’t gotten much better since then.

“Ensuring healthy children and families will take an all-of-society effort.”

 U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA

Sharing Our Stories

I decided to do my small part to address these issues. First, I initiated projects with other grandkids to develop more collaborative writing exemplars. Second, I decided to create the Write with Your Kids website as a way to inspire, inform, and equip parents and grandparents who want to “rally ’round the kids.”

NOTE: If you’re already far along to in your journey of writing with kids, you may want to go directly to the Creative Writing INFOHUB. Otherwise, please continue reading to learn more about our vision for enhanced childhood learning and well-being.

In the ENGAGE section of the site, there are stories about WRITING COLLABORATIONS from other parents and grandparents such as Rachel Renee Russell author of Dork Diaries who collaborates with her daughters.

Rachel Renee Russell with daughters Nikki and Erin.

(MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by April Greer.)

Young Writers Around the World

We’re excited to share information about Young Adult Writers who’ve written books on their own. For example, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at the age of 19.

Adam Musselmani from Virginia, USA, is an example of a Kid Writer. He wrote his first book, VIP Fruits, while in elementary school. 

Adam’s parents have used Self-Publishing Made Simple resources to launch his books.

Global Self-Publishing Community

April Cox

While developing and publishing eight books, April decided to help other aspiring children’s authors and created Self-Publishing Made Simple to support them. As part of her business model, she has assembled a global network of illustrators and designers whom she vets and manages.

VISIT SELF-PUBLISHING MADE SIMPLE WEBSITE

SUPPORT FOR STAR LIFE KEEPERS

 Prayan Animation Studio

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With April Cox’s assistance, I began to work with illustrators and mapmakers at Prayan Animation Studio in India.

Here’s an example:

Before

After

Field Trip with Grandsons

Moorhead Planetarium Chapel Hill, NC

July 31, 2018

Rough iPad Drawing

Praise Saflor’s design team in the Philippines brought it all together!

Saflor Graphic Design Services

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With April Cox’s assistance, I began to work with illustrators and mapmakers at Prayan Animation Studio in India. I was intrigued when I saw the power of combining their visualization with the ideas and text that Brady and I had created.

Mockup/graphic of those materials (c/o Glaiza)

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