In this presentation, I open up my life and my heart to explain why I love what I do. I admit the biggest challenges, the disappointments, and the joy of being an author. I share samples of editorial letters, along with a manuscript that needed revision. With an emphasis on never giving up, I inspire my audience to understand that all criticism isn't negative, to embrace their talent, and to pursue their dreams.
During my visit, I introduce students to the Strikewriter's Ultimate Writing Prompt, a motivating and exciting exercise that offers a new outlook on writing.
To begin, I engage students with my history of being a reluctant reader and writer. They will hear how things were not always easy for me because I was the new kid, and the only student in my class who lived on a farm. Those two things made me bully material. I was friendless, and felt alone. But the elementary school Librarian changed everything when she introduced me to Charlotte's Web. That one introduction marked the beginning of my path to being who I am today; a published author!
While keeping reluctant writers in mind, I created an exercise using pictures and an easy four-step formula. The pictures and formula will have students creating story ideas in seconds! Then several volunteers will read their ideas, just to prove how successful students can be no matter what their writing levels have been in the past!
At the end of my presentation, I encourage students to enter the Strikewriter's Contest! This is not a contest pairing one school against another. Here's how it works.
FEES: School visit and speaking engagement fees are available upon request. Please contact me so we can talk about scheduling. If applicable, travel expenses outside the Houston, Texas area will apply.
"Crystal is a rare combination of passion, inspiration, grit, and fun all rolled up into the nicest person you'll ever meet! In every setting we put her in, the students fell in love with her immediately. She was the most impressive when working with reluctant, shy students, or those who were a little bit behind, because her stories and almost pep-talk type speeches, had them believing they were writers and inspired them to participate. All of the students laughed, joined in, and walked away feeling like they were important and could be an author like her."
Director of Children's Education
"Crystal Allen embodies the joy of writing. Her eyes sparkle when she meets children, and invites them to join in writing their own stories. When she visited Arkansas, she facilitated writing experiences in both rural and suburban schools, with groups of students from 15 to 150. Each student left with a beginning, middle, and end to an engaging, meaningful story they had created! Immediately after her time with some of our Arkansas students, she received emails from both students and parents proclaiming new fascinations with writing and plans to become writers. After her visit, I received thank-you cards and emails validating student response to becoming writers and to loving the stories they developed through Crystal's sessions."
Dixie K. Keyes, Ed.D
Associate Professor of Education, Arkansas State University
Director, Arkansas Delta Writing Project
President, Arkansas Council of Teachers of English (ACTELA)
"Crystal Allen has shared writing tips with our sixth graders for the past four school years. She motivates low readers while keeping high readers intrigued. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy and Ms. Allen's second novel, The Laura Line, are perfect for studying figurative language and five senses imagery. Before her presentation, students love getting to know her title book characters, Lamar Washington and Laura Dyson. Our students literally jump up and down in the hallway when they spot Ms. Allen through the library windows on presentation day! During her presentation, Ms. Allen makes her characters and stories come alive. When sixth graders left the library after last year's presentation, one exclaimed, "I hated writing before today, but now I love it!" She is accessible via email and has a special connection with middle graders."
Barbara Hansen, Librarian
Sugar Land Middle School
Sugar Land, Texas
"What's better than taking a class of 6th graders on a field trip to the zoo? I'll tell you what—an in-school workshop with Crystal Allen. Allen ignited a fire under the students at Hedrick Middle School last year. With great humor, she shared her writing process with the students in a way that made every student feel comfortable to participate when the workshop became interactive. After demonstrating her writing process, many students realized they had a talent that they had no idea existed- writing. After Allen left, it was great watching a student who barely spoke as she confidently read a story that she wrote while using Allen's technique. The entire 6th grade student body wrote such good stories that the English Language Arts teachers had a difficult time selecting 15 students to attend the Strikewriters luncheon with Mrs. Allen later in the year. The workshop and/or luncheon gave hope to potential authors and fun for the entire student body. When I think of field trips, I'll think of Crystal Allen."
Hedrick Middle School
"Crystal Allen is a fantastic presenter! She effortlessly engages the audience with humor, anecdotes, and personal stories! She encourages teachers to focus on reluctant writers with easy-to-use and engaging lessons and ideas for students. Crystal is professional, charming, and a pleasure to work with! She will be a wonderful addition to any conference, workshop, or event!"
Digital Learning Specialist, MIS/Technology
Region 3 Education Service Center
"With an extraordinary and inimitable ability to engage preadolescents and adolescents through the written and spoken word, Crystal Allen establishes deeply felt, life-enhancing bonds with her audience. The opportunities to meet Allen and receive from her personalized feedback on their writing was exceptionally rewarding for my school's students. One student, summing up Allen's profound impact, said, 'The effort she put into talking to us one-on-one was phenomenal. Because of Mrs. Allen I now have confidence in my writing ability.' Another student commented, "Meeting Crystal Allen sparked a new flame in me about writing and helped me pursue my dream of becoming a writer." Crystal Allen not only captivates voracious and reluctant readers alike with an exquisite writing craft; she also touches hearts and changes lives with a compelling message of determination, understanding, and hope."
7th Grade Literacy
Bob Courtway Middle School