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Pupils 'Skype Chat' With Westport Kids Author

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Woods Middle School teacher Susan Tamagni read an article on The Daily Fairfield this summer about author Tommy Greenwald and his children’s book, “Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading.” She read the book herself and was so interested by it that she decided to teach it to her sixth-grade classes this year.

Tamagni also reached out to Greenwald, a Westport resident, about speaking to her class about his book. Together they worked out a Skype-based system in which Greenwald could interact with the sixth-graders and answer their questions about the writing process.

The following was written by Lily Marino, one of Tamagni’s students, about the experience.

I am Lily Marino and a sixth-grader at Fairfield Woods Middle School. This year, my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Tamagni, read my class a book called “Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading” by Tommy Greenwald.   The book is about a middle school boy, Charlie Joe Jackson, who absolutely HATED to read. He would do anything – ANYTHING – to get out of reading. The book was so funny and realistic. We enjoyed reading it and always begged Mrs. Tamagni to read just one more chapter.

One day, Mrs. Tamagni had a great idea to video chat with the author and to ask him questions about the book. After about a week of planning and a lot of emails back and forth, we got to do it.

Everybody was on the edge of their seats. We were all staring at the screen of the projector for the little icon on the Skype Website that says “offline” to change. Finally, we were connected with Tommy Greenwald. We had 10 questions prepared to ask him, such as: Did you like writing as a kid and how did you come up with the idea for this book? After that, we shared our comments about the book with him. Everybody loved the book. Also, it turns out that he is writing a sequel to the book that is going to come out next summer called “Extra Credit.” The class can’t wait until it comes out. I loved reading “Charlie Joe Jackson” and Skyping with Tommy Greenwald. I definitely hope we can do it again.

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