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School publishing center inspires young writers Print E-mail

COSA invites members to use this blog to share school successes and best practices, and to offer commentary on education issues. To submit an article, contact Craig Hawkins.

In this edition, Yaquina View Elementary Principal Kurt Smith reports on his school's publishing center and its successes in motivating young writers.  Have a question or comment for Kurt?  Submit it at the end of this blog.

NEWPORT -- The notion of a publishing center began to evolve after many discussions in faculty meetings about writing.  “What is the carrot on the end of the string for a writer?  What will it take to cause a young person to want to write and continue writing?  What can we do to convince a young writer that the first draft is not always the final copy?”  These were some of the questions we tossed around.  Once we’d assimilated our thoughts into a single idea, it was obvious that seeing one’s words on a page in a book is the ultimate motive.  Hence, the Yaquina View Elementary Publishing Center was born.

pub-center-kid&teacher The actual center was first set up in the storage room behind the custodian’s office.  It’s now in a small classroom.  A dedicated team of volunteer parents with the time, willingness, and expertise operate the center.   Martha Smith has been at the heart of the center since its beginning.  A former English teacher and computer instructor, Mrs. Smith organizes the schedules, meets with the students, and formats their text into a publishing level on her laptop.  She then helps them select the style of cover and assists them with operating the binding machine.

“I love watching the look of joy on their faces when they walk out of this room holding a real book—their own book—in their hands” says Martha.

pub-center-single-kid At the core of writing is editing and rewriting.   Editing is fixing spelling errors, punctuation, etc.  Rewriting is reading a sentence or a passage or an individual word and thinking, “I can say this in a better way."  Teachers at Yaquina View have been involved in a study of writing over the past two years, with emphasis on these two strategies. 

When a story is finally ready to go to the publishing center, it is expected that it has been edited and rewritten.  So when a child brings home a published book, it means they have spent considerable time in making it the best it can be.

Writing From The View. At the conclusion of the 2006-07 school year, WRITING FROM THE VIEW was published by a local printing company.  This book is an anthology including a cross section of some of the work done in the publishing center.  Some of the stories are fiction, some non fiction, some poetry and some include the illustrations that accompany the text. And because we firmly believe that adults are the best role models, a few pieces were submitted by adults. 

WRITING FROM THE VIEW continues to be available for a small fee, the funds going back into the publishing center.

2007-08. This year the publishing center has expanded with the addition of several volunteers who will help both with the publishing and with some editing with individual students.  We have also received three donated laptop computers. When you're in Newport, come by and visit the publishing center.  Or ask a student to read their book to you. We love showing off what we all agree is one of the great motivators for writing.


Comments (1)Add Comment
My Kindergartner
written by Cathy Piazza, November 05, 2007
Vinny is not quite reading yet and he has always been a minimalist when it comes to art and making his letters. But the day he came home and announced, "I published today!" -I was thrilled. I haven't seen it yet but I am so happy there is a writing focus and books being published at Yaquina View. Thanks, Martha.

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This page was last updated on Monday, November 05, 2007 .