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Authors for a day

Plum Canyon Elementary celebrates Young Authors' Day

Posted: May 27, 2008 5:03 p.m.
Updated: July 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor of Mrs. Sherman's third grade classroom, Margo Willingham read the story "Diary of a Sea Turtle" aloud to her Plum Canyon Elementary schoolmates.

The second-grader, who authored and illustrated the book, detailed the daily tasks of the sea turtle, ranging from brushing his teeth in the morning to watching the sunset and having a sleepover with his friends at night.

Sitting next Willingham, sixth-grader Lily Rosenberg, who served as the group's leader, offered positive feedback.

"You read very well," she said as the second-grader turned the page of her hard cover book.

The read-around circle bringing Plum Canyon students of all ages together was part of a day-long Young Authors' Day held at the Saugus elementary school on Thursday.

The event featured various events to celebrate books, including a morning of guest readers who read to the different classrooms.

Afterwards, the nearly 800 students split to form the read around circles.

The festival concluded with a literature bowl where students answered reading-related questions in a Jeopardy-style match.

Third-grade teacher Stephanie Cruz and first-grade teacher Maria Blue, who worked with Young Author's Day coordinator and third-grade teacher Michele Menchaca, said the event was a culmination of months of work by the students.

Cruz said that in April the students got a visit from a professional author who discussed the writing process.
Soon after, stacks of blank white hardcover books tied together with red ribbons arrived in every classroom of the school. Over the weeks, the students each turned their own empty book into a personal story that would be shared on Young Author's Day.

Many of the classrooms had a theme to their books. For instance, the fifth-grader focused on poetry, while the younger grades wrote about animals or adventures.

The project gave the students a way to develop a variety of skills.

"For the sixth-graders, they practiced leadership skills," Blue said as the older kids led their read-around circles.

Aside from gaining the basics of reading and comprehension skills, the students practiced how to read aloud while focusing on the tone and range of their voices, Cruz said.

Back at the read-around, first-grader Samantha Soles shared a story about her dog Pixie, while third-grader Erin O'Connor read about a possum's daily life.

"I did a project on possums," she said of the inspiration for the book.

Rosenberg said her book was about her grandparents from Russia, who had to go into hiding because they were Jewish.

Regardless of her own creation, Rosenberg was impressed by how good her group's stories were as they took turns around the circle.

"I didn't think it would be that good," she said with excitement.


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