Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Interview with Dallas Woodburn, author and founder of Write On! For Literacy- Part 2
I am pleased to welcome Dallas Wooburn back to Reviews and Interview. Dallas is a prolific writer and is founder of a non-profit called Write On! For Literacy which she started in her teens.
This is the second of 3 parts as a way to introduce the readers of Reviews and Interviews to this inspiring woman.
Dallas, thank you for visiting Reviews and Interviews again.
Last month we introduced you to readers. Today I'd like you to tell us about your non-profit organization, Write On! For Literacy.
So, what does Write On! For Literacy entail?
In a recent national assessment conducted by the National Literacy Institute (NLI) of fourth-grade students, 13% reported never reading for fun on their own; an additional 16% only read for fun once a month. I think this is a travesty. Reading has brought me so much excitement, confidence and has opened so many doors for me, including a tremendous college education and a career that I love.
Writing and reading have given me so much fulfillment and self-confidence, and opportunities that I never would have been given otherwise – like traveling to New York to be a guest on The CBS Early Show when I was writing a column for Family Circle magazine. I feel other kids should be exposed to writing and reading as well, to encourage their self-confidence and self-expression. When I published my first book, There’s a Huge Pimple On My Nose, in fifth grade, the teachers in my elementary school asked me to talk to their classes, and then I spoke to other classes throughout the school district.
I still enjoy talking to kids about writing. At the beginning of my talk, I ask the kids if any of them are interested in writing, and usually a few shy hands raise. In contrast, at the end of my talk when I ask the same question, a lot more hands raise. The students told me they didn’t know that kids could be writers. They thought they had to wait until they were adults.
How did Write On! For Literacy come about?
I started "Write On! For Literacy" in 2001 to encourage kids to discover joy, confidence, a means of self-expression and connection to others through reading and writing.
My website www.writeonbooks.org features writing contests, book reviews, fun writing prompts, and more. I also hold an annual Holiday Book Drive to collect and distribute new books to disadvantaged kids -- more than 10,000 books have been donated to date.
What was your main goal when you started your website, www.writeonbooks.org?
With my website I wanted to create a place where young writers can go to find resources and inspiration, as well as connect with other young writers.
I started the site to coincide with my latest endeavor, which is starting a publishing company, Write On! Books, that publishes anthologies of stories, poems and essays written by young writers for young audiences.
The goal is to give young people a much-needed outlet for expression and connection, while also hopefully inspiring a love of reading in youth. As a young writer, sometimes it can be hard to get people to take you seriously and get editors to even read your work. I believe that young people have a voice and opinions and a life perspective that just as important as the voice of adults. Moreover, there are so many books for young people that are written by adults – but who knows what it's like to be a kid better than a kid herself?
I am eager to read submissions from young writers -- they can e-mail me at email@example.com or visit my website www.writeonbooks.org for more information.
Next month, July 21, we'll have you talk about your passion for writing.