At age nine, I discovered R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. For the next couple of years, I spent sleepless nights tearing through tales of shrunken heads, evil snowmen, and rampant mummies. But my favorites were the ghost stories.
One of them was called Ghost Camp. It’s about two brothers who notice strange things happening around their summer camp. In one instance, a girl drops her hot dog into the fire. When she pulls it back out, there are no burns on her arm. Later on, the brothers find out that—DUN DUN DUN!—the other kids died in a mysterious fog and their spirits were stranded at the camp. Shock! Horror!
It seems ridiculous now, but Ghost Camp was the scariest thing outside of Pennywise the Clown to an impressionable third grader. I started keeping a flashlight under my pillow; when that wasn’t enough, I brought an old night light back from retirement. But I couldn’t resist the siren call for long; before the month was over, I was burning through the next Goosebumps book.
What is it about ghost stories that keeps us coming back for more? This is the question that the Learning Center explores in a week-long writing camp called “How to Write a Great Ghost Story.” The program is part of the tutoring center’s National Day Camp (Oct. 3-7) and is designed for students in grades 3 through 8.
The workshop teaches kids how to recognize and write a good ghost story by creating a “map” of literary elements, reworking an oral ghost story to share with the class, and crafting their own spooky tales. The finished stories will be published in a compilation at the end of the program.
Depending on the age group, the Learning Center also offers writing workshops focusing on stories from the far east, folklore in theatre, and journalism. Programs are available on a half-day or full-day basis.
For more information, check out the Learning Center’s website.