Every Kid Needs a Chance to Write a Weird 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Tale
A trip to 826LA was this week's great adventure for the Pathfinder Fellows. Founded in 2005, 826LA is a chapter of the nonprofit organization 826National, which helps students with creative and expository writing skills. There are two 826 locations in Los Angeles, in the Mar Vista community, and in Echo Park. We headed to the Echo Park location, which is creatively named "The Time Travel Mart."
Once there, we met Joel Arquillos, the executive director of 826LA. He and his staff told us that we'd be working with a class of fifth graders coming from Rosemont Avenue Elementary School for a field trip. We learned that the students would be taught a short lesson and then we'd be placed in groups to work with them. Our goal? To help them write a short story.
After the students arrived, Kristen Lorey, the Echo Park programs and operations manager at 826LA, asked the group questions like, "What goes into a good book?" and "What does a book need?" She gave everyone a brief overview of the basics—a book needs characters, setting, and plot—then we quickly jumped into action.
Lorey told the kids that they would be writing a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story. A Choose Your Own Adventure story lets the reader decide what's going to happen next. We then helped the students brainstorm what we would be writing about and what the title of our book would be. (We came up with a pretty creative title, The Demi-Daze.) From there, we each broke up into groups and started writing the book.