This summer, students across New England will have an opportunity to come together online to write, edit and publish their own books inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author and Massachusetts resident Jeff Kinney. Boston public broadcaster WGBH and the digital education company BoomWriter Media have teamed up to launch the BoomWriter Storytellers Camp to help middle school students maintain and improve writing skills during summer vacation. Through the collaboration, WGBH and BoomWriter Media are offering four separate one-week, online, curriculum-based and educator-supported camps that foster creativity and expressive writing.
“Students can lose critical writing skills over the summer months, so we are delighted to collaborate with BoomWriter Media to launch an innovative program to helps kids hone writing and literacy skills,” said Hillary Wells, WGBH children’s media executive producer. “This collaborative, web-based, curriculum-driven approach inspires creativity and develops writing skills that are necessary for success in the classroom and in a career.”
A recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that only a quarter of American high school students scored proficient or higher on writing assessments, and one out of five scored below basic. The BoomWriter Storytellers Camp is designed to nurture an interest in writing and equip middle school students with valuable and engaging tutorials to continue to develop and hone their skills.
“We are excited to work in association with WGBH,” said Chris Twyman, co-founder and CEO of BoomWriter Media. “They are the best of public broadcasting and are in the hearts of children everywhere. Together, we can inspire a love of writing, storytelling and learning, while also facilitating critical thought and creativity for a new generation of learners. The BoomWriter platform provides 21st century students with a means of self-expression through writing that is both accessible and familiar and provides teachers with the tools for success.”
The new BoomWriter Storytellers Camp builds on BoomWriter’s existing web-based platform and provides students with daily lessons and workshops before challenging campers with a daily writing assignment. On the first day of the camp, participating campers are presented with a prompt, or ‘story start,’ written by Kinney.
The prompt serves as the first chapter of a collaboratively written novel. After reading the prompt, campers individually write the next chapter. After writing, teachers and trained counselors review the campers’ writing and provide interactive feedback. When the daily writing period ends, campers are given the opportunity to read select and approved submissions from other campers and vote on their favorite additions to the story. The submission with the most votes is accepted as the next chapter of the novel and serves as the next day’s writing prompt.
In all, WGBH and BoomWriter aim to reach 2,000 campers this summer. Students will be broken up into groups of up to 50, with each ‘mini camp’ receiving support and guidance from educators. The first of the four one-week sessions begins on July 22.
Registration information is available at www.boomwriter.com/summercamps.