12-year-old prodigy is teaching others

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by JOHN SHARIFY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JohnSharify

KING5.com

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 19 at 2:28 PM

SEATTLE - She’s just a kid. Twelve-years-old.

But these days, Adora Svitak is acting more like an adult.

I mean, how many 12-year-old teachers do you know? The past few years, she’s been teaching students how to become better writers.

“I think teaching has become a big part of who I am,” says Adora.

Sometimes she visits their classrooms, but most of the time she teaches her writing lessons through Skype or a video conference. We caught up to Adora in her Redmond home teaching kids in Kansas.

“I think one of the keys to better writing is releasing all of your ideas and to not be afraid. Dream big. This could be the greatest novel in the world you know," Adora says.

What would a 12-year-old kid know about writing a novel?  Well, in Adora’s case, she was a published author at the age of seven.
"The first book I published is called 'Flying Fingers'", she says.

Yes, she teaches kids her age and older. But she also teaches people a lot older. On the day we visited Adora, New Hampshire teachers picked Adora’s brain to see how they can make their classrooms more innovative.

"When an adult sees me they say ‘OK, that’s just a 12-year-old’ when they should be thinking, ‘that’s someone who can do great things!’” says Adora. 

And speaking of 'great' things, I hope you’ve heard of TED Talks. The ‘talks’ have become a cultural force in our society, where the best and the brightest in the world are asked to speak about their cutting edge ideas. Adora has the distinction of being one of the youngest, if not the youngest person ever (we're still checking)  to speak at TED. TED just reached a milestone of 200 million viewers since they started posting their videos in 2006.

Adora believes in ‘kids' rights,’ arguing that adults should take young people more seriously and that adults might learn a thing or two from kids. I think she's on to something. 

Watch our story about Adora. She actually helped me write it - her own story!

If you’d like to see her in person, Adora is the opening keynote speaker at the Green Festival in Seattle on June 5. For more information about the festival go to http://www.greenfestivals.org/seattle/seattle-youth-lead/.

And if you want to learn more about Adora’s brilliant career, her website is www.adorasvitak.com.

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