"Stephen's use of literary terminology reinforces our previous lessons and gives our students better understanding of the elements of plot etc. His experience with students is evident. He is effective in holding their attention and keeping their creative juices flowing! In addition, Stephen's animated storytelling is often a favorite part of the residency. I love to see my students fully engaged in creative writing with Stephen!" -- Ms. Olson, Roseau School
My residencies aim to foster a love of reading and writing. They inspire, energize, and encourage students to begin thinking of themselves as writers—and as readers who think like writers! My joy in working with children is contagious; the children and I seem to hit it off quickly in the fun, high-energy workshops I’ve offered for over 20 years. My work has appeared in many publications. I am author of Pennsylvania, a non-fiction book for 5th graders, and Kerfuffle!, a collection of cartoons and poems.
My residencies provide the structure within which creativity thrives and takes shape. Using storytelling and cartooning, I show students how to add vivid sensory details to their stories and how to understand story structure. Each student then creates an original character with a problem. The character is placed in a conflict scene and challenged by a variety of antagonists. The character has to try to solve the problem and learn and grow through the struggle. This model is adjusted for each grade and class personality. I stress the writing process from inspiration to final product—and I make an emphatic case for reading, rewriting, and learning the rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Check out my website, for how kids can share their writing with readers from all over the world.