Did you know that Kennett Consolidated School District has published authors walking its halls? And they’re not even in high school yet! This summer, 11 select students, mostly fourth and fifth grade students, gathered for the Youth Writing Workshop, sponsored by the National Youth Foundation (NYF). Over the course of seven days, they collaborated on a book from conception to publication. While they had the assistance of adult staff, the students had total ownership of every element, from the title page to the last period.
Each day of the workshop concentrated on a different skill. In the beginning, they focused on research and discussed what they wanted their book to be, under the theme of “Local Heroines” for the NYF’s Amazing Women’s Edition. They also learned how to prep for an interview, which was held on the second day. The students hosted Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan to talk about her experience founding and working for the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation.
After the interview came the drafting process. The students divided up into writing and drawing teams, creating the narrative and illustrations for their book. The week continued with more writing and drawing, until they made it to the editing stage. The book was published in print and the students donated copies to local public libraries.
The Youth Writing Program provides an environment outside the classroom where students can practice skills necessary for future success, like editing, teamwork, and communications skills. Mrs. Sophia Hanson, a district parent who started the National Youth Foundation, said that the biggest area of growth for this set of students was teamwork—and their realization that they could be authors.
The NYF seeks to enrich children’s lives through creative educational programming. Its mission is to “promote tolerance and equality while helping young students develop their literary skills through academic and team building projects.”
The organization hosts three core programs. The first is collaborating with professional athletes from the NFL and the NBA to administer the Student Book Scholars team writing contest. NYF members also visit neighborhoods across the country and team up with community centers and schools to host Youth Writing Workshops. Finally, the organization developed the Amazing Women’s Edition competition, which gives students from kindergarten to eighth grade the opportunity to share stories of heroines in their own communities to honor the vast accomplishments of women in the United States.
For more information about the Amazing Women’s Edition contest, visit here.