Entertainment

Acclaimed author teaches teenage boys art of reading

St Mary's College Year 12 student, Tristan Bazant, 17, (left) has ambitions of becoming an author chats with James Phelan who is conducting workshops at St Mary's College. July 2017
St Mary's College Year 12 student, Tristan Bazant, 17, (left) has ambitions of becoming an author chats with James Phelan who is conducting workshops at St Mary's College. July 2017 Bev Lacey

TRISTAN Bazant has dreams of writing for the stage and screen when he finishes school, but his main challenge right now is learning to read regularly.

The St Mary's College senior was one of hundreds of students to learn handy tips on creative writing and recreational reading habits from James Phelan, one of Australia's most popular young adult authors.

Mr Phelan, who regularly addresses schools in Australia and the United States, provided Year 11 and 12 students with helpful advice for writing as well as how to make time for reading in their week.

Tristan said he has never been a consistent reader, a trait shared by plenty of his friends.

"It's very hard to get boys to read - I didn't start reading recreationally until the age of 12 and I've read very few books in my lifetime," he said.

"I will start reading (James') new series.

"Eventually I want to become a scriptwriter and a story writer, so for me getting those tips it has enhanced my ability to perform in the future.

"All his tips were great - he was actually really friendly and funny with his speech and I think he really connected with the boys and helped all of us, not just those looking to do creative writing."

Author, James Phelan conducts workshops at St Mary's College. July 2017
Author, James Phelan conducts workshops at St Mary's College. July 2017 Bev Lacey

Mr Phelan, who has won critical acclaim for his action-adventure books series like Alone and the Lachlan Fox thriller novels, said the key to appealing to boys was to mix entertainment with education.

"You get used to the different age groups and what jokes will land," he said.

"If I'm talking to full year level rather than an entire school, I just try to be as entertaining as possible.

"There are things that we'll come across that I liken to slipping a pill into the dog food - they don't know it's good for them but it's in there and they're going to learn something.

"You just try to make it as enjoyable as you can, because... it's more about those reluctant readers and getting them engaged."

Mr Phelan said the struggle to get more teenage boys into reading was made worse by what he saw as a reduced emphasis on library resources in schools.

"In a way it's not hard, and it's actually easier than ever because there's so much young adult material, which wasn't around when I was a kid," he said.

"For anyone who hasn't developed a love for reading, it's all about finding the right book at the right time.

"So many schools across Australia and in the United States are getting rid of their librarians and their libraries.

"It's all just going downhill, because if it's not STEM (science and mathematics), schools don't believe it has worth."

St Mary's library technician Cathy Collins said Mr Phelan was an ideal choice for the school because of his broad appeal.

"He's probably one of the most popular authors in our library at the moment," she said.

Topics:  james phelan st mary's college toowoomba


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Above the neck symptoms get the green light

TAKE IT EASY: Trying to sweat out the flu, if it's a head cold is all right but don't exercise when you're lungs are congested.

Do the neck check if you intend to do exercise

North Coast kids party in their patch at Splendour

Cindy Lee of Lismore on shoulders at Splendour In The Grass.

Teenage heaven at North Byron Parklands

Financial scandal destroys alternative community

Families who gave thousands to be a part of an alternative community at Mt Burrell, west of Murwillumbah, are now trying to recover their investment. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Dream Utopia turns into a nightmare

Local Partners

How many triangles are in this picture?

The simple illustration has been shared thousands of times on Facebook after leaving viewers scratching their heads.

VIDEO: The 'Disco Boob' trend at Splendour

Rachael Millen, of Newcastle, sporting the fashionable chest peace of glitter at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

VIDEO: Festival organisers forced to clarify policy on nudity.

Bieber quit tour to set up his own church?

Justin Bieber on stage during his concert at ANZ Stadium in Homebush.

Bieber is calling it quits on the rest of his Purpose World Tour

Bachelor hopeful ‘didn’t realise how naked she was’

The Bachelor Australia‘s Leah

Her dress was certainly daring, but she wasn't aware by just how much

Phelps shredded over shark race fiasco

"Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White," with Phelps testing his speed against that of a great white shark.

People are genuinely upset at the way the race was run

Film boss marvels at Sunshine State

FOR REVIEW AND PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from the movie Thor: Ragnarok. Supplied by Marvel.

Thor: Ragnarok success may mean more Marvel movies for Queensland.

ABC's Q&A: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

Opposition Health Minister Catherine King on the Q & A panel, left, and right, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

But there was one thing the students weren't discussing.

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home

Mum buys $900,000 apartment for her 8-year-old son

Tania Katsanis beat another couple of homeowners to secure the winning bid.

The apartment was a 'bargain' as the property market bottoms out

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!