Encouraging children to write

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It was education professor Meguido Zola who first opened my eyes to the possibility of a Simon Fraser University degree. As a Canadian children’s book author I was working more and more with educators, and a degree would definitely widen my horizons. Taking children’s literature courses was heaven on earth. To be submerged in children’s books and working on a master’s degree was as good as it gets. Thanks to SFU’s progressive attitude, I was able to take flexible courses in different locations, including an online course—quite something in the 90s!

Instead of writing a thesis, SFU allowed me to work on a project—one that still benefits children around the world 17 years later. Working with elementary students across BC on their writing, I wanted to create a way that would allow them to share their writing with a wider, authentic audience. My master’s project became an online e-zine in which children can share their own stories and poems. The e-zine is now in its 17th year. The archives brim with writing by young authors from all over the world: tens of thousands of children from over 20 countries submit their writing each month. The site is now hosted by UBC-Okanagan and other volunteers now actively make Kidswwwrite possible.

Okanagan University College recently recognized the project by bestowing me with an Honorary Fellowship. But the best reward of all is the fact that so many children from around the world are being encouraged to write. All because of the opportunities I had at SFU’s Faculty of Education.

Margriet Ruurs
M.Ed. 1998

Read all the stories from the 1990s