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SummerWrite memories

The following is a blog post by Sally Bittner-Bonn, SummerWrite coordinator, teacher, and Director of Youth Education and Community Outreach. For more information on SummerWrite and other youth programs, visit our website at or contact Sally at 473-2590 x. 109.

SummerWrite: A Wrap-up 

Last Sunday marked the first official day of fall. Mornings are chilly and the new school year is well underway, but memories of the summer are fresh in our minds. And what an incredible summer it was here at Writers & Books! 2013 was our biggest SummerWrite yet!

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces returning to Writers & Books, and many new faces as well. That holds true not just for students, but for apprentices and teachers as well!

We had a whole horde of young wizards come to our Harry Potter classes, and learn the great sport of Quidditch:


We even hosted a Harry Potter birthday party one afternoon (on July 31, of course)

HP birthday party

There was a lot of magic in the air here at Writers & Books this summer. One student, from the Magical Stories & Poetry class, when asked, “What did you learn about yourself this week?” responded, “I like magical creatures and I believe in them.”

There was also a lot of serious writing and discussion this summer. One of my favorite moments was overhearing the Percy Jackson class of 9-12 year olds discussing Aristotle and ancient Greek philosophy. That’s just the kind of thing you can expect here at Writers & Books!

Many students dug into literature deeply, in many different ways. Our new Hunger Games class did things their very own special way. They spent the week out at our Gell Center of the Finger Lakes, in the woods learning survival skills, and reading about and discussing social, ethical, and environmental issues facing our present and futuristic world. On Thursday night, students stayed at the Gell Center to show what they learned by building shelters, fires, tools, and playing their own version of the Hunger Games, which encouraged cooperation and team work, as they earned points for skills learned, and helped each other to not get their flags stolen from other students.

HG shelter

And here’s what just a few of our students said about their writing workshops:

• I enjoyed being able to plan out my story and being able to share what I had with my classmates.


• Everyone worked well together with a great group dynamic.


• I got to learn about a different kind of story telling than I use most of the time, and I learned new techniques.


• I learned how much I can benefit from plotting out my story rather than making it up as I go.


• This class has helped me get over my fear of sharing my work.


Even the high school seniors who were here to write their college admissions essays got to play Lava Tag, the signature Writers & Books playground game. They were forced to break from their serious discourse about college and chase each other around the playground! We didn’t manage to catch them on camera, but here is another group of students playing Lava Tag!

lava tag

At the end of each week, many of our classes gave readings or presentations of their work, and some students brought home anthologies of work from the week!

class reading

A huge thanks to all of our teachers and apprentices for helping make the summer run so smoothly!

To take a more comprehensive look at what our SummerWrite students did this summer, take a look at the SummerWrite Blog

And don’t forget to check out the youth classes we have happening this fall!