Michigan author to lead workshop at Chartiers Valley Intermediate |

Michigan author to lead workshop at Chartiers Valley Intermediate

Author Alan St. Jean will help students at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School this week create their own stories as part of a four-day workshop.

St. Jean, writer of the “Aidan of Oren” trilogy for children was set to spend Tuesday through today, Thursday, working with classes. Students, split into groups, were to work with the Michigan author to create a stories that will be judged by district teachers in an “American Idol” format during a school assembly on Friday.

St. Jean said he tries to offer students a real-life writing experience.

“They learn all these techniques in school, but it doesn’t prepare them for when someone gives a major critique. I want students to understand it’s a good thing to build off a story, and polishing it only makes it better.”

This will be St. Jean’s third visit to the school. He makes the trip every three years as part of a cycle to interact with new students each time.

“In the past, the students have really related to Alan because he is so approachable. He inspires the children to write and create stories just like he does,” said staff member Dee Hershberger, who helped organize a previous visit.

St. Jean was to work with 30 classes split into groups of three, anticipating 11 stories that will be showcased during the assembly.

St. Jean’s visit comes in a year the school leaders are placing a greater emphasis on writing.

“We thought that Alan’s ability to engage the students in the writing process would be supportive of this,” said Pam Larson, a staff member who worked with Hershberger to organize his previous visit. “Alan models all the steps in the writing process as he works with the students to create a story.”

St. Jean also will host a parent night and book signing Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the school.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or [email protected].

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