When Doug Grubert saw what was going on at Scottsdale High School in 2011 he decided it was an opportunity that more children should have.
Two teachers at that school in Tasmania were facilitating Write a Book in a Day, an annual national competition which challenges students in Years 5 and up (and adults too) to write a children’s story in one twelve hour stretch. Kids in hospital receive the completed books and an additional fundraising element of the event supports childhood cancer research.
So inspired by what he witnessed that day, Doug has been on a mission to extend this unique competition to more students. This year he is set to more than double the number of teams he registered in 2017.
"I anticipate having 12 teams per day, so 36 teams in total this year,” said Doug. “As well as inviting both primary and secondary school students, I am hoping to have a couple of Launceston companies enter the Corporate Division as well so we should have adults working alongside students - a real example of lifelong learning."
Doug is based in Launceston and is focussing his efforts on getting as many people involved in northern Tasmania as possible – both on and off shore.
“While the teams I’m coordinating will all work out of Launceston LINC on three different days, I’m also looking to have some participate remotely,” Doug said. “King Island and Flinders Island, both in Bass Strait, have schools and I hope they can be involved via video conferencing.
The things that motivated Doug to engage in Write a Book in a Day were that it is an educative activity, both intellectually and socially.
"The fact that young people are invited to write books to be placed in children’s' hospitals and that they're also raising money for kids with cancer contributes to the authenticity of this program,” Doug said.
“The world can be seen as a very superficial place at times, especially through social and mainstream media. There is a need for us to model character strengths that demonstrate care, concern, charity and empathy,” he said.
Write a Book in a Day is the epitome of twenty-first century learning. It requires teamwork, communication, collaboration, literacy skills, problem solving, technology skills, compromise, it is real world, it is time sensitive, it is multi-faceted. The skills are transferrable to other disciplines or aspects of life."
So is Doug issuing a challenge to see if another school can top his record?
"I certainly don't think of it from a ‘record’ perspective,” he said. “But if I am going to throw down a challenge, then it’s for as many teachers as possible to offer this opportunity to as many students as possible. Simply take that first step and get your students involved.
Read this exclusive Q&A with Doug.
Doug shares 11 tips on running a successful Write a Book in a Day.
You can write a book in a day! Register a team now.