With help from Lake Elsinore Teachers Association (LETA) and a California Teachers Association (CTA) Community Engagement Grant, Lake Elsinore parents have teamed up with University of California Riverside’s Inland Area Writing Project (IAWP) to offer after-school enrichment that strengthens elementary students’ skills and connects them to the joy of self-expression through writing.
Parents, concerned their students had access to writing strategies that engage them in English, approached LETA to partner with the Lake Elsinore Parent Network to gauge interest in such a project. LETA President Bill Cavanaugh was pleased to offer financial support for the eight-week program.
Amy Rose, Co-director of the Inland Area Writing Project UC Riverside, explained that students are provided a unique opportunity where opinions and ideas are validated through writing and sharing their work with other students.
Lake Elsinore Elementary teachers Alyssa Modymam and Adrienne Bohanan who worked with students through the eight-week project have seen positive results. They are hopeful more class time for writing will be an outcome of the project.
After participating, students’ confidence in their skills was apparent as they shared original stories to a crowded auditorium of proud parents, teachers and district officials.
Fifth-grade student Emoree Smith explained that each visit students are given a different assignment to write about. For her parents Kevin and Tosh Smith, they have seen a vast improvement in Emoree’s writing ability. She has significant improvement in sequencing her ideas into clearer messages. It has also increased her confidence.
Another participant, Angelina Herrera (who designed the cover of the anthology published by the workshop) enjoyed the three-word essay assignment and chose the words “bicycle, tomato, and fish” to write about in her short essay.
A CTA grant helped finance the endeavor and LETA provided the training facility for students and educators to meet during the eight-week writing project.
Ninetta Papadomichelaki, IAWP Managing Director, was on hand during the awards assembly and pleased to see Lake Elsinore district officials, board members and administrators working in collaboration in the interests of the community and its children. “We can accomplish so much when we are all working together”, she said.