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Cover November 23, 1998

When I was still teaching, one of the greatest rewards was when my students wrote a story or an article that showed an appreciation for the process of writing, a love of language and a reflection of themselves in their work. Sometimes I had nothing to do other than supply the writing materials and let them go at it; at other times, however, it was a struggle between the writer and me just to get a few words down on paper. When the internet came along and I discovered how to make simple web pages, a new avenue opened up for getting children to write. The Web offered students an audience for their writing, whether is was for a piece of fiction, or a description of their town. Children need outlets for their work because writing is the act of communicating, and magazines (whether on-line or in print) offer children an audience. This week's cover article introduces a literary journal for children published both on the web and in print.

Bruce E. Pohlmann


Word Dance - a Literary Journal for Children

By Ruth Patterson
Word Dance

Where can you find the kids equivalent to the New Yorker magazine? The Internet, of course. Word Dance, a non-profit, children's literary magazine published quarterly by Playful Productions in Wilmington, DE, announces its Web site at Word Dance is a professionally designed and produced journal which is primarily for use in schools as an innovative learning tool.

Students from around the country can share their writing and artwork with children and adults all over the world. Today's technology and the creative efforts of volunteer Web designers provide world-wide access to Word Dance magazine.

The 6 - by - 9 - inch child-sized booklet includes children's haiku poetry, letters to the editor, stories on school and family trips, and a special section for group projects. Teachers usually submit the writing and artwork of their students, although students may make submissions on their own. The organization has a selection committee-composed of professional writers, teachers, and student representatives-that chooses the writing to be included. Approximately one-quarter to one-half of the work submitted makes it to publication.

Teachers believe the magazine provides the students with needed recognition for a job well done. Getting published boosts self esteem and encourages students to write more.

"When they see their names in print, it's other people outside their little world who have given them recognition," said Deborah Kupfer, a seventh-grade teacher, who has seen several of her students published in Word Dance.

"We're really trying to coax the kids into reading, writing and submitting by presenting writing and artwork in a pleasing format; one that is up-to-date," Stewart Ungar, executive director of Playful Productions says. "I believe that kids can appreciate quality. They therefore see writing as something that is not a chore, but something pleasurable."

Creating the Web site for Word Dance was a collaborative effort. Stuart Ungar provided all the content needed to bring Word Dance to the world. Steve Yamamoto, Information Specialist for the DuPont Company, designed the site with the help of DuPont co-workers Brad Faircloth and Pennie Rohde.

Mr. Yamamoto has been a writer and editor for over 15 years and has designed Web pages for the last five years. He recognizes the need for children to learn writing skills. Word Dance encourages reading and writing by students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

"I value writing, and I think it is an area where kids need a lot of help. Writing and grammar are important," said Mr. Yamamoto. "I think it's admirable what they're trying to do."

Visitors to this new Internet site can read samples of short stories, poetry, articles and view illustrations found in past issues of the magazine. Bubbles dance across the logo and the four-color design aides visitors selecting options from the home page. Included with this site is a long list of links to more Internet sites of particular interest to students, teachers, and parents. Visitors can also subscribe to the magazine and obtain submission forms from the Web site.

For more information about Word Dance magazine, visit our home page at, or call (302) 322-6699.

Previous Cover: The Slings and Arrows - Of the Oppressed, by Bruce E. Pohlmann

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