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Published authors are getting younger and younger these days. At Old Dominion University's Child Study Center they are ages five and six and their gaily colored, professionally hard-bound, works have touched off a whole new writing program here.

"This first effort was such an incredible success that we decided not to make it just a one time thing, but to do this every year," said Child Study Center Instructor Carol DeRolf. "It is fantastic to see how much more interested and involved in reading all the children have become after seeing the works of five fellow students go from works in progress to bound books on the classroom library shelf."

The students whose works were chosen for publication included: Riley Meyers, 6, Mariah Moss, 5, Regan Richardson, 6, Ben Steinhauer, 6, and Colby Warden, 5.

Susan Moss, parent of an ODU kindergartener Mariah Moss, age five, is a helper at the Child Study Center. Moss initiated and co-sponsored the cost of the program, each book cost about $22 and the stories of five students were chosen to become books through a service called Illustory from the Denver-based Creations By You company www.creationsbyyou.com.

Illustory allows teachers and parents to work with very young children to write and illustrate their own books which the Illustory company then professionally binds in hard or soft cover. Illustory Kits include special book and cover pages, markers, story ideas, and instructions. The children's creations were mailed (although there is an option to submit finished works online) to the publisher and shipped back as finished 12-page, 7" x 9" books, professionally typeset and bound. Production time took about one month and the finished, hard cover books came back to ODU and were the focus of a book launch party at the Moss' home for the five budding writers.

"The children really enjoyed themselves," Moss said. "Having their very own books made all the books they see now more special because they understand that someone actually writes them and draws the pictures."

This article was posted on: January 18, 2006

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