Nature Writing with Shane Casey
The Dublin Bay and Kerry Biosphere’s have invited author and ecologist Shane Casey to deliver a special workshop on nature writing. This workshop is aimed at 3rd - 6th class students.
Much like the characters in his stories, Shane is quite an ordinary fellow – but he grew up in an extraordinary place. Shane grew up on his family’s farm at Blackhead (County Clare, Ireland), in the heart of the Burren. And if ever there was a place to inspire a would-be writer, it’s the Burren. Everywhere you look, there’s a feast for your senses – the striking blue colour of spring gentians, the call of the cuckoo in summer, the rough edge of the limestone pavements, the sweet fragrance of hawthorn blossoms, and the tangy flavour of blackberries.
Shane works as a Biodiversity Officer, which involves finding new ways to engage and educate people about their local wildlife. One of these ways is through writing stories. However, it’s vital that the characters and descriptions within each story reflect nature as it really is, and that wildlife is not personified beyond recognition. So hopefully, by the end of one of Shane’s stories, the reader will know a little about the real-life animals, their behaviours and their habitats. After all, no animal needs to be wearing clothes and standing upright to appeal to children, or to inspire them!
Making books Dyslexia Friendly
Shane uses five simple techniques in his books to make them more accessible for dyslexic readers. While they may not work in every case, we have received a very positive response from parents, teachers, and children with dyslexia.
He uses a special font called OpenDyslexic font. This is currently free to download at http://dyslexicfonts.com
- He avoids black text on a white background. Instead we use dark blue text on a cream background.
- He uses only single spacing after all punctuation marks.
- He avoids beginning the first word of a new sentence on the previous line.
- He aligns the text to the left of the page and avoid justifying it.