About Our Camp

 

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Who is Tokyo Kids Write for? 

Young writers and readers, ages 9-12, on average.

TKW is a camp for anyone who is not already in love with words. It is definitely a summer activity for those who enjoy reading and can express themselves in writing.

Not every young person is excited to hear about writing. To many, the word “writing”  can signal pangs of boredom and groans of defeat. Too many kids and young adults equate writing with the tedium of scripted five-paragraph essays with no time for creativity.

This camp is a break from that rushed, scripted monotony. Tokyo Kids Write is a reboot for how each camper views him or herself as a communicator. In these seven days, how a child even sees him/herself in relation to the community and world can shift.

Writing and every part of the overall process can become fun again! Tokyo Kids Write is a sure-fire way to gear up for the upcoming school year. Young people benefit greatly from carved-out time specifically set aside to cultivate ideas, mull over thoughts, and investigate their natural, intrinsic curiosity.

We will move your young writer forward in the best possible way—through writing workshop-style learning and hands-on activities that challenge, inspire, and encourage every camper.

I invite any questions.

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How is this different than another writing camp? Well…

We welcome award-winning, Japan-based authors as they join camp sessions, share personal tips, and offer specific feedback to our young authors!

One summer, our camp Skyped and emailed with Suzanne Kamata, author of Gadget Girl. We even read portions of her manuscript before it was even on the market! She supplied personal feedback to each young author via Skype and follow-up emails that she personally sent to each writer!

Last year, we welcomed acclaimed author, Leza Lowitz! Her powerful novel-in-verse book, Up From the Sea, connected to our camped as researched and connected with historical knowledge on a heart level. Leza joined us in the Best Living Japan Studio for what was a momentous day!

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Instead of simply having ONE teacher who edits and comments on our work, we operate as a writers’ workshop, valuing every reader and writer’s take and suggestions for our writing. Having a superstar, cool, Japan-based writer who also offers personalized feedback also helps, indubitably!

Additionally, we don’t always stay in the studio! Instead, we take mini-outings for rich experiences to help our writing. This may mean a trip to the local Baskin Robbins to beat the heat with an order of ice cream to coincide with sensory writing and writing restaurant reviews! It may mean a quiet walk of recording every swoosh, ripple of leaves, or city sound we encounter for a story we’re working on.

Reluctant readers and writers take bigger risks and dare to engage when it doesn’t feel like an assignment. We work in an atmosphere where every child is engaged.

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Stepping out of the box may mean brainstorming under a shady tree and letting the sounds of Tokyo be our rhythm as we search our brilliant verb word bank for the perfect word. It means flexible seating, warming up with music and a silly writing prompt, stretching out and feeling free to create. Depending on our writing task and project, it may be interviewing community members or thinking bigger, while we work in our beautiful workshop space of Best Living Japan. We will work like journalists and chase the story.

Our interactive syllabus is forthcoming! We will read as writers and write as readers. We integrate the two, dissecting words from the best books we read and then making them our own. We look at WHY we can’t put the book down from the first page and then we make the decisions that give OUR own writing posses that very can’t-put-it-down-quality!

Okay, what about the cost?

80,000 yen covers the cost of camp tuition and materials (our focus book, signed by this summer’s star author, notebook, pens, and all writing and art supplies).

This cost breaks down to 2,500 yen x 4.5 hours x 7 days, plus all books and supplies

And lunch? Campers bring lunches. Refrigeration is available.

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To be wise, integrated readers and authors, we must ask questions and interact with text. We use HUGE wall-sized neon sticky notes and teeny ones, too. We create messages in bottles; we create graphic, comic-like stories and charts. We’ll get out markers and paint, not afraid to experiment with ideas. We test our use of transitional phrases and sequencing skills by making sandwiches, brushing teeth, s’mores, you name it! We are never stuck in a textbook.

Collaboratively, we make decisions along the way as to how to move through the writing process. The campers drive how they most want to share their writing and in what form that publishing takes, be it online or in paper form. As a long-time educator, writer, and editor, I get to facilitate.

Get ready, Tokyo! Kids sure can write.

*Write me with your interest and we’ll go from there!  

Include, please, your child/children’s name(s), ages, and a brief background of who they are and why this camp appeals to you.