Author, Megan Bryant, Shares Insights with Elementary Education Majors
November 17, 2014 – Megan Bryant, prolific children and young adult author, came to High Point University to share insights into her life as a writer with the elementary teacher candidates. Dr. Debbie Linville partnered with BookMarks Authors in Schools & Community to bring Mrs. Bryant to campus to afford seniors and graduate students presently enrolled in the Process Writing methods course the opportunity to hear firsthand what it is like to live a “writerly” life.
Mrs. Bryant discussed the importance of reading, honing keen observation skills, and making the commitment to write every day if you choose to make writing a career. She shared about her lack of confidence as a writer in the early years, her writing habits and struggles, strategies to overcome writer’s block, and the exhilaration that stems from knowing you have given your best effort for the reading enjoyment of others.
Megan surprised and delighted the audience by reading two chapters from her newest young adult novel manuscript, Glow, recently submitted to the publisher. The novel centers on the little known Radium Girls; female factory workers who painted radioactive radium on the watch dials to make them glow in the dark. To hear Megan talk about painting her fingernails different colors to help her get into character, listening to music from WWI, and having the ticking of a radium pocket watch (a gift from her husband) sitting by her side as she typed out her ideas on the computer keys gave teacher candidates a window seat on what it means to live the “writerly” life.
Elementary Majors Participate in “Book and a Blanket” Project
November 2014 – Through the generosity of the Walmart Foundation, High Point University Elementary Education majors were afforded the opportunity to promote the joy of reading to the entire student body at Kirkman Park Elementary School; Pre-K-5th grade. Debbie Albert, instructor of the Children’s Literature course, applied for the grant in hopes she and her students would have an opportunity to spread the joy of reading. The project, entitled “A Book and a Blanket” provided a book and a blanket for each child in the school so each one might experience the joy and comfort realized from curling up with their own book and blanket.
The Elementary majors visited each classroom to share a read-aloud of a recently published children’s book, encouraged children as readers, and then gifted each child with their own book and blanket to take home. Mrs. Albert notes that we must first model for children the joy of reading if we are expecting to grow proficient readers. “If children do not experience the joy and purpose of reading, the many tasks for which we labor over in the classrooms each day will be a futile attempt in the goal of creating proficient, lifelong readers.”
Education Seniors Host Family Literacy Night
October 2014 – High Point University seniors hosted a Literacy Night October 29 for the families and students at Florence Elementary. Over 100 families participated in the event! The High Point University elementary teacher candidates planned and executed many and varied hands-on, minds-on literacy station activities that allowed children and their families to experience the joy of reading and writing. By providing engaging ideas that parents can recreate at home, HPU pre-service teachers played an active role in promoting the school-home connection and supporting the literacy development of elementary children.
Family Literacy Night
November 2013 – High Point University seniors hosted a Literacy Night November 4 for the families and students at Montlieu Academy of Technology. Over 100 families participated in the event!
The HPU elementary education majors worked as partners creating a literacy themed station for elementary students to visit with their parents. Activities ranged from applying reading comprehension strategies to writing to create new characters. One station invited parents, Montlieu students and siblings to examine how the genre of historical fiction can be used as an engaging resource to learn about American History.
The impact of literacy night reaches far beyond the one evening in November. The Montlieu students and parents have literacy strategies they can apply year round at home and in school. Our HPU seniors even donated their literacy station resources to the teachers of Montlieu Academy of Technology for them to use in their classrooms.
Teacher education elementary majors in the School of Education at High Point University have the opportunity to participate in a weekly Book Buddy program with children at two area partner schools – Montlieu Academy of Technology and Florence Elementary. Over the years, the partnerships have developed and grown to include additional literacy experiences for the pre-service teachers and the children, teachers, and families at the elementary schools.
Literacy Support Group
Research is clear…mentoring is a beneficial practice toward nurturing continued learning, promoting empowerment, growing teaching excellence, and fostering leadership in the educational arena. In an effort to provide a professional space where M.Ed. (Elementary, Literacy Concentration) graduates of High Point University can continue to build capacity to enhance literacy teaching and learning, Dr. Debbie Linville initiated a Literacy Support Group in the Fall, 2013. The group meets regularly and has established its own blog.
Literacy Outreach Project
The High Point University cohort of the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators chose Florence Elementary to be this year’s recipient of the first annual Outreach Project.