BVEF Grant Encourages Young Authors at OHE

Heather Payne, Literacy Coach, at Oak Hill Elementary, has been the recipient of several teacher grants throughout her career. Her latest was a $2,000 grant from BVEF last fall.  “Bringing the Art of Literature and Writing to Life Through Community Engagement” was a huge hit with students, enhanced learning the elements of storytelling, and encouraged others to continue to explore book making on their own.

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Q. BV schools are already scoring well on literacy skills, thanks to educators like you. What was the idea behind this grant that made it unique?

A. The idea was that our students in grades 1-3 would learn about elements of storytelling- character development, perspective, and action- and would create a book of ideas to show how they learned these new elements.

Q. How did students create these books and what made them so significant?

A.  We were lucky enough to have local authors and illustrators come in and lead workshops to develop a deeper understanding of storytelling elements.  Students created their own “ThinkBooks” and shared them with peers and adults.

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 The most significant achievement of the “ThinkBook” program was bringing OHE students the opportunity to work with professionals in the field of book making.  They loved the mentoring from an author and illustrator whose books they had actually read before the workshop.  This year, it was also incredible to see students practicing their listening and speaking skills as they presented portions of their book with the entire grade level. 

Q. What reactions did you receive from students after the workshop?

 A. Students loved the workshop and have been inspired to continue writing on their own. Two students from Mrs. Diedrich’s 3rd grade class decided to learn more about book making during a genius hour

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project and created their own graphic novel stories using elements from the workshop such as character development. 

 Q.Would you like to share this kind of grant opportunity with other students and educators?

A. We would love to work on further expanding this program into other grade levels and building on the learning that has occurred this year.  Connecting students to professionals in their field is truly something we believe in and think it is an incredible opportunity for young learners.  The grant from BVEF allowed us to do just that!