I have to share some ways schools and community groups and Child Writes have made this literacy program accessible to any passionate primary school aged writer.
Yes, if you are paying up-front for the entire guided correspondence program, it does cost $850. The school based program is $750 per student. We have priced the program at the same level as if you were learning an instrument, doing a gymnastics class, or art classes. It is a tad more than $250 a term and includes all the materials you need to produce a picture book, as well as course materials, hours of one-on-one tutoring, editing and book design layout, AND 10 printed books (this is $150 alone), plus opportunities like having books included on Jetstar...
Yet, it is not a program for the wealthy. We have worked this program in so many different guises over the years and it makes no difference if it is taught in a public school or a state school, to a home school student or an adult, in a catholic school or a community based group... It is a massive 12 to 16 week learning experience, which is guided, with all the resources, materials and expertise necessary to guarantee one outcome - the publication of a picture book by a primary school aged child.
Here are some of the clever ways the cost of the program are reduced so no-one misses out...
1. Donor tutor - for seven years, I donated my time to school groups as their tutor, editor, designer, printer. To date, this has been over 1,000 hours. Our thought for the future is for a parent or a teacher to 'do' the tutor training course and then donate their time tutoring a larger group of children in their community. This then means the programs only costs are associated materials and printing.
2. Grants - A grant application lodged by BIEDO for Eidsvold State School meant the entire program was delivered 'free' for the participants. The grant was for 30 children. (Five extra students started as the program was underway, and Child Writes actually paid for them - but that is another story!) It does take time to find grants and to apply for them, but 35 children who are now published authors and the grant writers believe it was all worth it.
3. Self funded - one student at Sacred Heart School worked to earn the $220 for materials and printing (yes, the tutor time was donated) She received her books at the book launch, which happened to be her birthday! Another self-funded idea was a child who asked for 'Child Writes' for birthday and christmas one year, and then her gifts were kind of like vouchers!
4. At Middle Ridge State School, the school community was invited to participate and businesses 'sponsored' children into the course. Additionally, if the staff at the school needed to assist a child financially participate, they collected money on their behalf.
5. Like the MS Read-athon, a child can collect sponsor money for 'pages completed' - with 40 pages, it takes 21 sponsors $1 per page to contribute and it is paid for! This is something Child Writes is happy to help you with.
6. Encourage your local library to purchase a copy of 'Child Writes: Creating a Children's Picture Book is Child's Play'. This book totally underpins the entire program and we already talk with passionate literacy advocates who are taking themselves through the process of creating a book for FREE!
7. Our grand plan is for the Child Writes Foundation to be at a point to be able to donate tutors to groups of children. We figure, if we can find avenues to raise money, through sale of resources, through book sales, through grant applications, selling the 'Imagine it...' workshop, then we can send a tutor as a gift. That is after all, how Child Writes actually started.
If, for a second, you find the costs of the program inaccessible, please contact us. There are always pathways to a goal - just need to find the right path!