Today I am starting at www.fightingwords.ie it is the writing centre that Roddy Doyle established in Dublin right beside Croke Park. I am a volunteer! I have been on the training day, filled in the forms and now we are ready to help create a book with each of the kids!
Its initially collaborative; kids coming up with their own collective story and discussing plot and characters together. They talk about what the characters look like, what will happen to him in a certain scenario. Then when it gets to the cliffhanger part – they break up into small groups and finish the story themselves.
At the end of the session they have a book, printed, with a title page, and with a picture of themselves on the back page – ‘about the author’!!
I talked to anyone who would listen about how positive the training was – what a wonderful, bright, creative place it was. What an amazing simple, but empowering concept it was.
I grew up watching community plays, listening to local people reciting their party-piece poem, and reading Seamus Heaney’s farming poems (born 8 miles from me). I always felt that words were part of the fabric of my childhood and were assessable and simple and powerful. So to see a centre that makes words accessible to kids in primary school today is amazing. It is a wonderful positive place!