A Class Act

Hey Kids!

Who is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Billboard’s youngest ever Woman-of–the-Year, and the youngest artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year?

Taylor Swift discusses books, reading, and writing with students.

Taylor Swift discusses books, reading, and writing with students.

Yes, that’s right.  It’s Taylor Swift, or as my 14-year-old son is known to call her, T-Swizzle.

Out of the respect I have for this artist since watching her Scholastic video Reading Opens a World of PossibleI will call her Miss Swift.

At age 24, Miss Swift has already won seven Grammy Awards.  She has written ALL her own songs.  In fact, she considers writing to be the most important part of her job.

Last week we watched a conversation she had with six individual students, ages 11-15, about writing, reading, and books.  In addition to the students she sat with, Miss Smith also invited two classrooms into the discussion via Skype.

Miss Smith and the students addressed such heady topics as dystopian societies and feminism as well as the current and important topic of bullying, especially appropriate as October was Bullying Prevention Month.   While talking about their favorite books and Taylor Swift’s writing process, the group discussed point-of-view and poetry, and used such terms as metaphor, rhythm and rhyme.  At one point Miss Swift described herself dancing by saying “I look like a baby giraffe learning to walk.”  A simile in action.

The songwriter has been keeping a writing journal since she was 13-years-old.  She spoke about writing her ideas down whenever inspiration hits and retold the story of collaborating with Ryan Tedder on the song I Know Places.  Similar to all writers, Taylor creates a rough draft of the song, her voice accompanied by a piano, on an audio file; she then heads to the studio to polish it by creating a track using background bass and drums.  The finished version stays true to the draft, but is enhanced by the additional work.  Compare this to all writing: rough draft, revision, finished product.  Listen to both versions and the entire conversation by clicking on the photo above.

In her Scholastic conversation, Taylor says, “Books train imaginations to think big.”  She and the students discuss books with impact, which range from Percy Jackson to  Stargirl.  Add your favorite to the board!

Scholastic video-interviewed quite a few other students, teachers, and parents to learn about how their favorite books “open a world of possible”.  Watch and listen to their ideas about books.

On Thursday of this week Usher will also talk about books with Scholastic.  What celebrity would you like to sit down with and have a book chat?  What books would you discuss?  What would you say about your favorite book?

Taylor Swift chats with one of her guests during a Scholastic book talk, Open Possible.

Taylor Swift chats with one of her guests during a Scholastic book talk, Open Possible.

Watching Taylor Swift talk books, reading, and writing.

Watching Taylor Swift talk books, reading, and writing.

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17 thoughts on “A Class Act

  1. Hey, Mrs. Donofrio! Great blog post, I would want to chat about books with Johnny Depp, because he is one of my favorite actors, and is a good role model. I would discuss the “A Land Remembered” sequel, because that is my favorite book. I would say that “A Land Remembered” is a very good, and teaches lessons about life and surviving off of what you have. What is your favorite book and what about it is so good?

  2. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    Watching the video of Taylor swift was very inspiring, and thank you for scheduling 4th-8th grade to watch the video of Taylor Swift. I think it is great that all of these amazing artists are taking time out of their busy schedule to talk to kids about reading. I would probably choose Pharrell Williams (the guy who sings Happy), because I have watched him on The Voice and he seems extremely kind when he mentors the contestants. My favorite book is probably The Time Machine By H.G Wells. I would say that the book is very exciting and interesting I read the book for the first time in first grade and I have read it about three times since then. What is your favorite song?

  3. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    I really liked the video. I personally would like to have a book chat with Katy Perry. I think she’s really talented. I really appreciate her music. I’m not sure what type of books we would talk about, I presume what ever type she liked. I would say ” My favorite book, well books are the “Ever After High” series by Shannon Hale. I really like the book because I think all sorts of people can relate to at least one of the many characters. I personally LOVE all of them.” What famous person you would like to meet, other than Taylor Swift?


  4. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,

    I would have a book chat with Taylor Swift. The book that we would discuss would be The Sires of Unfortunate Events. My favorite book is the second book when they three kids meet Monty. He was really nice to the three kids Violet, Sunny, and Klaus. What books did you read? Did you ever read The Sires of Unfortunate Events? If you did read these books which one did you like the most?

  5. Hello Mrs Donofrio
    A celeberty i would like to talk about is Ibrahimovic. A book i would like to talk to him is all about me. It is is a book all about him about his work. He probably knows it but if he does not. I think he would like it. But my favorite thing is that he is a great Swedish soccer player. What would be your pearson that you would talk to and what book

  6. hello Mrs. Donofrio

    the celebrity I would like to talk with is Ken Jeong. the book i would talk about is A Land Remember by Patrick D. Smith. I would tell him how you can really get in to that book because of all the great details, and all the generations of adventure and excitement of the book.

    have you ever read A Land Remember

  7. Jordy Nelson I wold talk about the I would like to talk about Gifted Hands it is one of my favorite book. My favorite part is when the end comes it is so beautiful.Who is your favorite football player?

  8. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love your blog post because I love Taylor Swift. I thought it was so interesting that she loved to read, write, and also make a journal. There are so many celebrities I would LOVE to sit down and talk about books with. I would have to go with Gwen Stefani because I watch The Voice every Monday and Tuesday. I think it is very interesting how she coaches her team. She seems extremely nice and enthusiastic. We would talk about the books A Land Remembered, A Land of Stories, and The Red Kayak. My favorite book is A Land Remembered because the setting was Florida back then. It made me think what Florida could actually be like before I was born. Have you read any of these books?

    ~ Julia

  9. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love your blog post about Taylor Swift, or as I also call her, T-Swizzle. Taylor swift has inspired me, and many other people. There are so many actresses, actors, or celebrities that I would love to sit and talk about books with. This is a hard decision! I could spend ALL day thinking about this, but I would like to sit and talk about books with Chloe Grace Moretz. She plays Mia in the movie If I Stay, and Carrie in the movie Carrie. She has inspired me a lot. I would love to discuss the books The Land of Stories series, and the Divergent Series with her. I would talk about both of the series as my favorite books, and talk about the action in them. Have you read any of these series? If so, what was your favorite thing about them?

  10. Hi Mrs. Donofrio! I didn’t know we where going to talk to Usher. Isn’t he a famous rapper? Who would I want to sit down and chat with? Thats easy my all time favorite ARIANA GRANDE! I would love to be able to meet her especially to talk about books I love books. I would discuss One for the Murphy’s. Its only one book but still I loved the book. I would say that it was amazing and thats because Its just very detailed. Plus it was in first person and i truly love books in first person. Who would you want to interview?

    Keep blogging,

  11. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I think that I might want to read the series Anne of Green Gables. They look like good books.
    I would like to have a book chat with Meghan Trainor because she writes her own songs and I love all of them! The book that I would talk about is the Land of Stories By: Cris Colfer. I would say that it is a good book, and it teaches me that things might not be what they seem. Also, to be kind to siblings and it will get you places. Have you heard Meghan’s songs? Have you ever read the land of stories?

  12. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    That post was amazing! You used lots of great details, photos, videos, and questions. The celebrity I would want to sit down with is Becky G. I would want to sit down with her because she writes all of her own songs, and is the youngest female winner of Radio Disney’s NBT. Financial struggles forced her family to sell their house. Becky wanted to help her family make money and started posting remixes of other songs on YouTube. A few months after that, Radio Disney started getting emails about Becky from fans and decided to look at her videos. After that, they thought she was good and wanted to put her in the NBT competition. Becky accepted the question, and later won the NBT contest. I think Becky G is a good person to look up to because she showed that maybe even if you don’t have a lot of money, anything can happen. The books I would want to discuss with her is probably some that she read, and some of the books that I have read, then to see what similarities we have. I would say that my favorite book is MOCKING JAY, which is the third book of the Hunger Games series, because it shows a story of how people start standing up for what the believe is right. What celebrity would you want to talk with? Why would you want to talk to that certain celebrity?

  13. Hello Mrs. Donofrio,

    I would like to sit down with and talk with Kyrie Irving, because he is my favorite NBA play. I would talk about ” The Maze Of Bones” or ” A Land Remembered”. “A Land Remembered” is my favorite book, because I really like how they did things in the past then we do today.

    Have you ever read “A Land Remember?”

    ~Connor Flynn

  14. Dear Mrs. Donofrio
    I really enjoyed learning new things about Taylor Swift. She is a great role model to young girls like me.
    I have sooooooo many celebrities that I would discuss books with but since I have to pick one celeb to chat with I would probably pick Billy Joel. He has written some great songs and he has been a good role model for singers. The books that I would discuss with Billy Joel is A Land Remembered, The Truth About Sparrows, So Be It. I would talk about the plots of the stories, and I would talk about the characters and their different personalities.
    Have you ever read any of the books that I listed? If you did what did you think about the books?

  15. Dear Ms. Donofrio,

    I would talk about the book called Keepers of the Lost Cities. I would talk to Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry. I would ask her if she likes reading. I would also ask her whats her favorite book and why. Then I would talk about Keepers of the Lost Cities. I would tell her why it was favorite book. If you could be one of the celebrities, and who would it be?

  16. Hello Mrs.Donofrio

    I would love to talk to Derek Jeter because he is my favorite sports celebrity,and since he is retired now I would like to talk to him. The book I would talk to him about once I read it is called The Contract. Would you rather interview a singer celebrity or sports celebrity?


  17. Dear Mrs.Donofrio,

    Sorry that I was out for 2 days.I have a really bad infection in my finger.I would probably have Jimmy Kimmel to have a book chat,because he is really funny and he is one of my favorite celebrities.My favorite book is ,The Kay.
    What is your favorite celebrity?


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