On Monday I’ll do my first school visit of the year. I’ll be at Watkins Elementary in Springfield and meet with four groups of students in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5.
I’ll be reminded again of how different our audiences are from one year to the next. We write for kids, sure, but for which kids? I’ve used these examples before but here they are again: quotes from student entries in a book I did years ago that highlighted student responses to the prompt, “What I’ve Learned So Far . . . ”
Grade 2: Boys are worse than I thought.
Grade 3: You can’t keep a boy and girl hamster together.
Grade 4: I can go with eight girls at a time without any of them knowing it.
Grade 5: I like money and I don’t have it.
These examples amuse me in part because from early on we see an increased awareness of gender that goes from revulsion (grade 2) to the rather cocky lady’s man in grade 4. And by grade 5 they are finally figuring out that money has something to do with what they can and cannot get, gender-wise or otherwise.
Anything you want me to tell the boys and girls at Watkins for you? I’ll be happy to convey your messages.