Lester Laminack, an author and educational consultant working with schools across the country, visited with students and teachers at Western Wayne Elementary in Cambridge City on Oct. 11 and Westview Elementary in Richmond on Oct. 10.
Laminack, who has written or cowritten more than 25 books for children and teachers, is a professor emeritus of education at Western Carolina University.
Linda Morgason, interventionist at Westview, said teachers received a set of Laminack’s books to prepare their students for his visit, and Westview’s hallways and lobby were lined with student-made work representing his books. All students lined the school’s entrance to greet him, and every student chose one of Laminack’s books for him to sign.
Laminack met with groups of students organized by grade levels, and conducted professional development sessions for staff.
“Because our students were so prepared, their interest in Lester’s presentation was focused,” Morgason said. “They came away with the opportunity to become a better writer as well as a better reader. He let them in on some secrets about some of the books, he talked to them about who the characters in the books portrayed, and he showed them his notebooks he keeps with his ideas for books…and much, much more. The students learned firsthand what Lester does as a writer and learned how to apply that to their own writing. They learned from the very books they have been reading and poring over for the last few weeks.”
Laminack’s recently published works include “Three Hens, a Peacock, and the Enormous Egg” and “The King of Bees” for children, plus professional books “Critical Comprehension: Lessons for Guiding Students to Deeper Meaning” and “Reading to Make a Difference: Using Literature to Help Students Speak Freely, Think Deeply, and Take Action.”
On his website, Laminack says, “If you want to write: Stop wishing, start writing. Don’t say ‘one day when…’ Just pick up a pen and open a notebook and start taking note of what you notice. Let your brain get in the habit of noticing the world. Read, read, read, read, read, read .… If you want to write, read everything that is anything near what you hope to achieve. Fill your head with the sounds of it.”
A version of this article appeared in the October 18 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.