FORT HOOD — Students at Meadows Elementary School were encouraged to improve their writing skills at a special presentation Monday.

Children’s author and performer Julian Franklin spent the day at the school talking to students about the writing process during an interactive show he called Set Sail.

The presentation used examples of award-winning writers to help students develop the tools they need to improve their writing.

“The writing process can be tough for children,” said Franklin, who gives similar presentations in school districts across the state. “Very often, they have great ideas, but have a hard time communicating those ideas.”

During his performance, Franklin told students to think critically about what they want to write before they put pencil to paper, encouraging them to be descriptive and to choose words that make an impact on readers.

“Writing a complete sentence doesn’t have to be a painful process,” Franklin said. “I try to show them it can be fun, and that their words can have the power to affect people.”

Franklin told students they

need look no further for lessons in good writing than the books by children’s authors in their own school library. Franklin cited books such as “the Polar Express” and “Jumanji” by Chris Van Allsburg as examples.

“This author chose his words very carefully,” Franklin said. “Writing starts in your brain ... all you have to do is think before you start writing.”

The show also covered how students could use library and media center resources to improve writing.

With a sea of information at students’ fingertips, thanks to the Internet, the role of the library has evolved to help students learn to evaluate and interpret information. “We use our class time in the library to teach kids how to find good information, and how to use the information once they find it,” said Colleen Tedford, Meadows Elementary librarian. “It’s more than just a place to check out a book; it’s an information center.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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