Hats. Lots of them.
Steven Krasner, writer and educator, has worn many different “hats” in his lifetime.
These days he wears his “Nudging the Imagination” hat most often, conducting interactive and collaborative writing workshops in classrooms around the country and engaging K-12 students in the writing process, something he has been doing since 1985.
Steve, or “Papa Stevie” as he is known in the classroom, also offers Professional Development sessions for writing teachers, parent-student story-writing workshops, author visits and guest speaking presentations for school assemblies as “Nudging the Imagination.”
But that’s just one of his “hats.”
Steve also is Executive Director of the nonprofit Rhode Island Write on Sports organization.
He was a sports writer for the Providence (RI) Journal, covering the Boston Red Sox on a daily basis for the final 22 years of his 33-year career with the newspaper before retiring in 2008 and eventually writing freelance stories for ESPN’s Boston website.
Steve’s also an award-winning children’s author, a youth baseball coach, an MVP on his Columbia University baseball team, an avid gardener and a devoted family man.
“Nudging the Imagination” Classroom Writing
Steve’s many grade-appropriate, fun-filled and collaborative writing workshops trace their beginnings to his children’s classrooms in East Greenwich, RI.
He would volunteer to read and tell stories to Amy’s preschool class at The Little Red Hen, and when she went to Kindergarten he volunteered to help Amy and her classmates create their own basic narrative stories with their own characters, often working with his son, Jeffrey, on his lap, as he typed their suggestions for sentences and word choices onto his laptop.
The classroom writing workshops grew as Jeffrey and Emily came along. Steve added mysteries, tall tales, newspaper articles, mystery dinner theater scripts, video magazine scripts and cliff-hangers to his repertoire and soon other teachers were asking him to visit their classrooms, while principals began asking him to present workshops for teachers and conferences around the country began accepting his proposals to present workshops as a guest speaker.
“Nudging the Imagination” as a second career began taking shape in San Diego in 1999 when Steve presented a workshop at the International Reading Association’s annual national conference. The feedback Steve received after his session and in conversations with educators at his table in the exhibit hall convinced him that what he was doing in the classroom had value.
And the best part? Steve loves working with students, seeing them light up and have fun as his boundless enthusiasm for writing becomes contagious, engaging them in the writing process while also aligning with the various educational standards.
Helping students write their own mystery plays from soup to nuts, plays that schools tend to turn into spaghetti-supper types of Educational Fundraisers, has become especially popular as a “Nudging the Imagination” offering.
Along the way Steve has been doing more and more Professional Development sessions, offering practical, easy-to-implement suggestions for nudging students along the path to becoming independent and enthusiastic writers. And he also conducts nighttime parent-student story-writing sessions.
School Assembly Guest Speaker
Steve guest speaks at school assemblies and visits as an Author, too. He has had several children’s books published, including Have A Nice Nap, Humphrey, which Steve uses to show the writing and illustrating process, taking the students from the original text and sketches to the final product.
In these types of school assemblies, Steve also shows materials he used as a baseball writer, notably the book of statistics he kept yearly and his scorebook in addition to replicas of artifacts, including a 1939 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox jersey, that were given to him by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rhode Island Write on Sports
In 2014 Steve started Rhode Island Write on Sports, a nonprofit organization that offers sports writing summer camps and after-school programs for at-risk middle school students. RIWoS is an affiliate of Write on Sports.
Over the course of two weeks, writing students create in-depth feature stories on sports-related topics of their choosing, a 2-3-minute sports-related video, participate in mock interviews and go on a field trip.
The program has grown steadily and there are plans for future expansion. In the first year there were 9 campers. In 2017 that number was up to 60, with two RIWoS camps, one at Providence College and the other at Bryant University.
Steve didn’t want to be a sports writer.
He wanted to be a professional baseball player. And he was pretty good. He was a three-year starter and the team’s MVP in his final year at Columbia University in New York City.
There wasn’t a huge professional demand, though, for a 5-foot-8 (maybe with lifts in his shoes), 125-pound (including bricks in his pockets) second baseman who hit only .210. Steve was not drafted or given a chance for a tryout with a pro team.
But, because he could write – Steve was sports editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator – he was able to get paid to watch games for the Providence Journal, the hometown newspaper for the Cranston, RI, native.
He got to go to World Series and Super Bowls. It all added up to a 33-year career for Steve. He covered as many sports as you can name, but he became known as a baseball writer, ultimately covering the Boston Red Sox on a daily basis for his final 22 years at the Journal.
While he was at the Journal, not only did Steve chronicle the Red Sox’ first World Series championship in 86 years in 2004 (and also the team’s 2007 title run), he was on hand for many, many memorable moments in sports.
Steve was at Shea Stadium for the 1986 World Series when the Mets’ Mookie Wilson’s seemingly harmless ground ball found its way through the Sox’ Bill Buckner’s legs.
He was in the Candlestick Park press box in San Francisco when an earthquake interrupted the 1989 World Series. He was there in 2001 when New England’s Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal through a snowstorm in a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, starting the Patriots on their way to Super Bowl dominance.
Steve was in the Orange Bowl in Miami when Boston College’s Doug Flutie threw his “Hail Mary” pass and beat Miami in 1984. He was on the scene for four no-hitters, including one on his very first day of duty for the Journal, a gem thrown by Pawtucket’s Jim Burton in a Triple A game. Steve also was at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium for the end of the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning game between the PawSox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981.
He got to cover future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez.
And a year after he retired from the Journal, ESPN came calling for its website in Boston. For several years he wrote freelance Red Sox and Patriots stories for the website.
Steve has been a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame for more than a decade. He also was a member of the Hall’s Education Advisory Council, and he was honored by the Boston Baseball Writers of America’s Dave O’Hara Award for meritorious service in 2010.
Steve has had several children's books published, one of which, Play Ball Like the Pros, won a Parents’ Choice Silver Award when the first edition was published in 2002.
That book, which offers youngsters aged 8-12 on a Little League-sized diamond tips from 20 major leaguers, including superstars such as Derek Jeter, Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia , is one of three baseball books Steve has authored.
He also has written Play Ball Like the Hall of Famers for players on the full-sized baseball diamond featuring tips from such Hall of Famers as Johnny Bench, Whitey Ford, Carl Yastrzemski and Rod Carew and The Longest Game, which tells the story of the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning Triple A game between Pawtucket and Rochester in 1981.
Steve also has written a couple of picture books.
Why Not Call It Cow Juice? is a fun-with-words, literal-and-figurative-language story featuring a confused Dad and his annoyed/amused children. If you get apple juice from apples, then you should be getting cow juice from cows, right? Cows have to be squeezed like apples, right? That’s what the Dad (also known as Steve!!) thinks, anyway.
There’s also Have A Nice Nap, Humphrey, a lavishly illustrated book about three animals. They each have a problem, but they help each other solve those problems.
While his kids were young Steve wasn’t able to commit to coaching because of his travel schedule writing and covering the Red Sox, but he assisted as a softball coach for Emily and threw tons of batting practice to Jeff and his teammates, who won Little League state championships when they were 11, 12 and 13 years old.
Upon retiring from the Journal, Steve coached in the East Greenwich Little League for four years and then in a couple of AAU programs for four years, emphasizing the mental side of the game and the importance of having fun and playing many positions.
When he isn’t writing or spending time on the baseball field in the spring and summer you can find Steve in his garden, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers, zucchini, sweet corn, broccoli and spices. He may not have a green thumb, but spending time with his plants, especially when his granddaughter, Juliana, who was born in 2013, helps him plant and harvest, is relaxing and fun.
Steve is fortunate that Susan Oclassen said “yes” in 1977. Sue is always supportive of Steve’s endeavors and nurtures his inner child. They are lucky to have three great children, Amy, Jeffrey and Emily, and now an extended family that has added terrific partners Matt, Jess and Dan.
Steve’s “family” also includes a gazillion stuffed animals, all of whom, naturally, have names, voices and personalities in keeping with the portion of him that refuses to grow up!