Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer, Summed Up

As I've mentioned before, I write the content for a series of English-language magazines for Israeli kids who are studying ESL. The magazine is given out in schools by the English teachers -- it goes out to all sorts of school systems: secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox, and Arab. I write most of the articles on four levels. The highest level is for high school kids who are taking the English matriculation exam soon; I write those pretty much the way I'd write for any magazine, perhaps a tad more simply.

The lowest level is for fourth graders who are just beginning their English studies. All sentences are short, and, whereever possible, in present tense. Words are extremely simple, and repeated often. Most of the words are translated into Hebrew at the bottom of the page. Obviously, not all stories for the older kids can be simplified like that, and not all stories for the younger kids are interesting to the older ones. But in general the topics overlap.

For the September issue, both pages of the double-page News spread will be devoted to stories about the war over the summer. For the older kids, I'm still in the process of researching the stories, since they require more details and quotations from other sources.

But for the fourth graders, I was able to sit down and just write the stories of the war, because the whole point is to leave out anything complicated. They are only 9 years old, and they don't speak English.

But . . . how does one simplify a war?

Here's my rough draft. Before I send it in I have to simplify it even more.

Welcome to War Redux:

War with Lebanon

Israel fought with Lebanon. There were rockets. It was scary. People left home.

The war ended. Things were normal. People went home.

They hope it will stay quiet. They hope for peace.

Israelis help each other

In the north there were rockets. In the south it was quiet.

People in the south said “stay with us. We will help you.”

Some homes were full of people.

“Israelis must help each other,” people said.

Rockets fall on everyone

In the north are many Israeli Arabs.

Jews were hit by rockets. Arabs were hit by rockets. The rockets hit everyone.

It was scary for all Israelis.

Spongebob visits north (photo supplied by Nickelodeon)

Bombs fell. People went into shelters. The shelters were under ground.

It was boring. Spongebob visited them. He played with the children. The children were happy to see him.

Wedding for people from north (photo supplied by Eyal Fried)

Some people wanted to get married. Then the war came.

Where could they get married?

There was a big wedding. Very big! Thirty people got married!

The wedding was in Tel Aviv.

Yeah. I guess that pretty much sums it up.

(Cross-posted to Israelity.)

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