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Young writers honored

Placer Area Reading Council celebrates the work of more than 160 students
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Kindergartener Catherine Stipanovich spoke softy as she read her story “A Tale of Two Friends” to the children circled around her at Maidu School in Roseville. Her peers listened intently as they sat in a classroom on April 22. Before Stipanovich’s presentation, teacher Carrie Andrew told the children they would all read their short stories or essays aloud, and then the children would compliment each others’ writing abilities — and, in some cases, drawing skills. “And then, of course, we’re going to give you a great big round of applause because you’re an author,” Andrew said. The reading circle was part of Placer Area Reading Council’s annual Young Writer’s Celebration. This year’s event featured more than 160 entries — students were nominated by their teachers — from throughout Placer County. Children in kindergarten through eighth grade received medals and certificates during the ceremony. “It honors their writing,” said Taffy Maurer of Placer Area Reading Council. “It brings recognition to them, which they may not usually get in the school setting. The parents sit around and you can just feel their pride.” After the awards presentation, older students were treated to a talk by Jeff Savage, an author of children’s books from El Dorado Hills. Savage has written more than 150 nonfiction books for young readers. After Savage’s talk, students broke into small circle groups in different classrooms, according to grade levels, to share their writing with one another. The Young Writer’s Celebration has been around for 18 years. Council President Judy Lynch’s student, Stephen Messenger, was one of the winners during the inaugural event, she said. At the time, Lynch taught first grade at Greenhills Elementary School in Granite Bay. Lynch just learned that Messenger recently had an article published in the Wall Street Journal about the origin of flower names — he’s both a writer and a linguist. “It was exciting to see his name in the paper,” Lynch said. Messenger now lives in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and writes for Treehugger.org. Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.