Dixon Middle School’s engaged approach for improving students’ writing skills includes workshops, group work, and author visits!

After a long day of school, Dixon Middle School’s library was almost completely full of future authors eager to hear from published author, Jennifer Jenkins.

With her background in history and secondary education, Jenkins looked forward to teaching students to love historical figures and people. However, once she began writing, her life took an unexpected turn. She is now widely known as the author of the Nameless trilogy, To Kill a Curse, and Teen Writer’s Guide: Your Road Map to Writing (releasing March 2020). Jenkins is also the cofounder of Teen Author Boot Camp, a federal non-profit organization dedicated to promoting teen literacy and authorship.

Under the direction of Jenkins, students learned the extensive process of developing characters and dialogue. Jenkins had the young writers split up into small groups and answer a series of questions which ultimately created a complete character with a backstory, a plan, role and personality.

The writing workshop has been available for students at Dixon for nearly 15 years! Material discussed at the workshop aligns well with what is taught in class, allowing students to further process and practice new concepts.

Dixon understands the struggle students go through to become quality writers.

“Writing is not my favorite and I’m not the best at it,” shared a seventh grade student. He continued, “But I know I can improve and I have to get used to it because I know the writing never stops.”

Another student expressed her excitement of having Jenkins visit the workshop. She said, “I think meeting authors and learning from them is really cool.” Whether students hope to write a book someday or are just trying to pass their English class, these impressive, young writers are brightening their future one comma at a time.

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