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Wantagh students get a visit from author Gordon Korman

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Wantagh Middle School sixth-grade students recently had a virtual meet-and-greet with best-selling author Gordon Korman while reading his novel, “Restart,” about a boy who loses his memory and, in turn, finds his life.

Julie Rosslee, the director of language arts, reading, libraries and world language, said the book was has served as an anchor text for teachers to model different elements of reading and writing, which supports the Reading and Writing Workshop model incorporated into sixth grade. It was also chosen for its strong message.

“The message of the book is that even if a person makes mistakes in the past, the individual has the opportunity to change his/her ways going forward,” Rosslee explained.

After students read the book, teachers planned a mini-interview unit centered around Korman’s visit. The students examined a variety of sources to research background on the author and utilized additional resources to learn how to write the “meatiest” possible interview questions, such as mock interviews of Ben Franklin and astronaut Kay Hire. With this preparation, the students wrote terrific questions that impressed Korman.

—Brian Stieglitz