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?
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 Possible, I 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?