Rivers Elementary Connects with Author Eric Wilson

With the onset of remote learning from home, I wanted to select a novel that I could share with students in order to continue their education in English Language Arts. Such a novel would need to be at a level that could be understood by all students, it would need to be of high interest to hold their attention, and it would integrate into other subject areas like Social Studies.

I had always wanted to do something with an Eric Wilson novel because he is a Canadian author who writes in the mystery genre and secondly, his mysteries are set in Canadian regions, including lots of local Canadian trivia (his website is ericwilson.com). I chose “The Ghost of Lunenburg Manor” as we had come across Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in our study of British North America. Mr. Wilson, who resides in Victoria, BC, was gracious to provide me with permission to record and distribute his novel to the Grade 5 students and our course was set.

                       

Throughout the reading of the novel, students participated in listening to each chapter and answering various questions related to the details of the chapter and literary elements. They also completed illustrations of some of the novel content based upon the author’s descriptive writing. During this process, Mr. Wilson kept in touch with me asking how the students were progressing and giving me suggestions for further lessons. The highlight was his offer to participate in an online video conference with the students to which he would donate his time.

On Wednesday, June 10th, Grade 5 students who were able, took part in a video conference with the author, Eric Wilson. Eric spoke a little bit about himself and then asked the students to share their questions with him. Over the next hour, Eric spoke with the students about his experiences as a writer and shared his knowledge of writing with the students. The students were fascinated by his revelation that he would actually go to places and stay there for months at a time while he researched local establishments, interviewed local people, and tracked down unique histories of the region. He told the students that he was a reluctant reader until he was given a copy of a Hardy Boys Mystery and then he was hooked. He said that he started writing mysteries when he was a teacher to help some of his students develop more of an interest in reading.  He also expressed a wish for students to send him some of their completed illustrations so that he might publish them on his Facebook page, Eric Wilson Mysteries.

While we have all had to deal with remote learning in different ways, I wanted to share this story with you as an example of how people have reached out to assist with the education of young children. From speaking with Mr. Wilson, it is clear that he is passionate about children learning to read to not only further their education, but to develop their understanding of Canada and to enjoy a good story. Thank you, Mr. Wilson, from all of us in Grade 5 at Rivers Elementary School, Rivers, MB.

Respectfully submitted:

Mr. Radcliffe
Grade 5 Teacher
Rivers Elementary School

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