I had a sixth-grade English teacher, Mr. McLaughlin, who encouraged us to be creative. He is one of many teachers I should thank for making me who I am today. Once a week, he had us do a free-writing exercise based on a writing prompt. On the day the assignments were due, students could volunteer to read theirs out loud. The class would vote for their favorites, and the winners would receive free books from our school's book club program.
I was often eager to read my assignment, but it was the first time I ever wrote for a specific audience. It took me a while to figure out what might work.
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