The Young Author Scheme: My First Book
The Young Author Scheme is Singapore’s first-ever scheme to train young authors, from as young as eight years old. The benefits that these children have seen personally from this scheme has been amazing – the ability to express themselves when verbal words just don’t suffice, being able to put down personal feelings – love, fears, elation, fantasies and even magic. They learn how to open up and this can not only be therapeutic but also offer a sense of fulfillment.
The first of its kind in Singapore, the Young Authors Scheme began in 2003 with a class of 50 students from four primary schools, all wanting to express their ideas in words but are limited to compositions and letter writing. It took an innovative-thinking English Head of Department from Anderson Primary to hit upon a novel approach to spur them on: write a book! But it was to be no ordinary book; it had to be good enough to be published. The cluster called upon the expertise of Catherine Khoo. Could she help these students develop their potential? Never one to refuse a challenge, she dived into the project and stolidly hand-held them into penning their very own creation: a well-crafted story of at least 3,000 words.
Mentor and student will liaise very closely through emails as the story idea takes shape and is developed from first to final draft.The duration of the project: two months for writing English, a boost to their vocabulary, a sense of satisfaction and awe in seeing their name in print.
Most important: each student learns that good writing comes from practice and the ability to persevere.
Children have a wealth of emotions. How do you draw them out? At the same time, how can they learn as they are sharing?
Storytelling is at once therapeutic and fulfilling. The chance to create opens a whole new world to them. Putting them into words allows them to draw on their imagination, learn new words and enjoy the process of writing.
All students will undergo a five-session writing course where the structure of good writing is taught. A 500-word first draft will be submitted at the last session. All students will be attached to mentors. They will attend coaching and discussion sessions until their story is of publishable standards.