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Hampton Roads Community News

Native Son Kwame Alexander Launches Online Class for Children

LOS ANGELES, CA
Kwame Alexander, the New York Times bestselling author of 37 children’s books has partnered with Age of Learning, Inc., to introduce q new children’s teaching video series. Alexander grew up in Chesapeake, Va., where he graduated from Great Bridge High School. He attended Virginia Tech. His father Dr. E. Curtis Alexander still resides in Chesapeake.

Alexander’s books  include Newbery and Caldecott award winners The Crossover and The Undefeated. For this project, he created, executive produced, and hosts a new 10-episode educational series named WordPlay. It is designed to teach elementary age children how to write short stories and premieres online in early September exclusively on Adventure Academy

“I know a lot of kids will be reading and writing and learning at home this year, and that’s going to be challenging,” said Alexander. “My 11-year old has struggled during the lockdown to stay engaged with her classes and assignments. I created WordPlay as a supplemental learning aid to engage these young learners that is not only educationally effective but also intelligently entertaining. This is a master class in writing for young people!”

Each episode of WordPlay features Alexander working through a key stage of the storytelling process with the help of other notable guest authors. For example, when he’s looking for help finding the right word or metaphor, he meets up with American rapper and hip-hop ambassador Toni Blackman, who freestyles a special “word of the day.”

Other well-known guest stars,  including actor and author Maulik Pancholy of 30 Rock and former VP of Animated Shorts for Nickelodeon Samantha Berger, offer insights into various elements of the storytelling process, such as exposition, character development, and how to build a sense of mystery.

WordPlay also features “The Pajama Drama Club,” a book club of kids who act out stories by performing literary songs and jokes in a theatrical production.

Age of Learning’s team of master teachers and curriculum experts has created interactive learning activities to accompany each WordPlay episode within Adventure Academy to help young learners deepen their understanding of key topics and practice writing their own stories.

“As a leading educational game for elementary-age children, Adventure Academy provides a virtual learning world that sparks kids’ intellectual curiosity and helps build key academic skills,” said Paul Candland, CEO of Age of Learning. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring the genius of Kwame Alexander to Adventure Academy, where his expertise and passion will inspire and empower kids to become master storytellers of their own.”

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Adventure Academy is a highly interactive learning game for elementary and middle school age children featuring thousands of learning activities in a fun and safe virtual world. Available to families on computers, tablets, and smartphones, Adventure Academy builds critical knowledge of essential topics in language arts, math, science, social studies, and more.

For more information on WordPlay, visit www.adventureacademy.com/wordplay and Adventure Academy, visit www.adventureacademy.com.

Alexander is a regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, and the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded.

Alexander currently serves as the inaugural Innovator-in-Residence at the American School in London, and the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that aims to Change the World One Word at a Time.

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