Magazine article NATE Classroom

Groupthing.org: An Online Community Where Young People Creatively Engage with Reading and Words

Magazine article NATE Classroom

Groupthing.org: An Online Community Where Young People Creatively Engage with Reading and Words

Article excerpt

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Ed is 15 and lists his main interests as: music, football, computer games, and hanging around with his friends. When asked to write fiction at school he starts with enthusiasm (he's a big fan of Robert Muchamore and Darren Shan) but often runs out of steam and leaves things unfinished. He says he enjoys writing but isn't happy with what he writes and is happier talking about his ideas with friends. He knows some people become authors but has no idea how that happens 'Someone discovers them?' and would like some tips on writing either fantasy fiction, or football journalism. Where would you send him?

Shelley is 14 and doesn't consider herself a reader but likes Jacqueline Wilson and drawing manga characters that she has become adept at copying. She has no idea how manga is produced and is really keen to meet someone who draws manga for living. Where would you send her?

Wouldn't it be great if schools had a space where young people could share their interest in words? A place creating a fantastic buzz, bringing in more and more young people?

They'd upload images, create new cover art, storyboard favorite animations, cover football matches, and write lyrics. There would be passionate debate, shared ideas, and revelations of secret writers. Authors, illustrators, publishers and games designers would drop in to chat, answer questions, and be badgered about agents.

They'd form groups on unknown manga or Robert Muchamore. They'd form strange clusters around Discworld, plan journeys to other countries, imagine different endings, and create new genres for books older readers had never heard of. groupthing.org is The Reading Agency's major new initiative to give young people the tools and the space to be creative online. It harnesses the two main drivers for young people today: being online, and generating and exchanging their own creative content. Young people are online up to 20 hours per week; let's give them the tools to make the best use of that!

'groupthing.org allows young people freedom for expression and creativity. There really is something for everyone.' Rachel Benson (18)

Use groupthing to challenge perceptions groupthing is different. groupthing believes that readers are social and creative, readers use reading to achieve different goals. groupthing challenges young people's perception of themselves as being simply readers or non readers.

groupthing promotes all reading: magazines, non-fiction, manga, graphic novels, adult crossover titles, plays, scripts, music (lyrics), short stories, film, games (on and off line), as well as fiction and poetry. It can do all these things:

* encourage wider forms of reading and engage with modern forms of communication.

* help you reach students aged 13-18 who are turned off traditional forms of reading.

* encourage students to read for enjoyment, impacting on their achievements in later life

* give young people the space to nurture their own voice, and make them aware of what opportunities their creativity can open up.

groupthing.org is, in fact, what young people asked for.

Creativity and engagment across the Curriculum

groupthing.org provides schools with the tools to ignite students' enthusiasm for words and narrative. It brings together advice, presentation space, and stimulus for all forms of writing and reading. They can use the technology to explore and create a wide variety of texts, and learn from both peer-to-peer comment and content as well as professional advice.

Are young people involved?

groupthing. …

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