Troy University helping to develop young writers

Posted: Wednesday, 06 July 2016

PHENIX CITY – Troy University hopes to develop about 20 new published authors July 11-22 through a literacy program targeting below-level readers in grades four and five.

The "What"s Your Story? Reading, Writing and Storytelling" project, directed by Paige Paquette, an assistant professor of English for TROY"s Phenix City/Columbus location, will lead the students from oral storytelling, reading and, finally, writing. It is supported by a $1,265 grant from the Dollar General Foundation, and is part of the Phenix City Housing Authority"s "YES!" summer program, for Young Exceptional Students.

"Our goal is to increase the students" reading comprehension levels after gaining an understanding of the value of analyzing aspects of short stories," Paquette said.

That"s the outcome, but for Paquette and her team of University volunteers and volunteer educators in the community, a book signing party is the real end of the road for the children.

"Our final day will be a celebration day, and a signing event for the students" books. We"ll be "publishing" their stories with an author"s page, a cover and binding," she said.

Some of the children will also read their works aloud.

The literacy program will bring the concepts of storytelling forward into reading fictional and non-fictional short stories, with the students eventually modeling their own stories based on the works read.

On July 16, the group, which will read a non-fiction book on Rosa Parks, will travel to the Rosa Parks Museum on TROY"s Montgomery Campus in order to get a deeper appreciation of Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

"It seems like reading has always been a part of my life," Paquette said, describing her upbringing as an only child "living exciting adventures through books."

"I want to do my best to help every child develop an excitement for reading like I have – books and stories seem to give someone a 'voice'," she said. "Writing often helps provide one who feels voice-less a sense of accomplishment. If reading can open these children's minds and take them on a new adventure – and writing can give them a voice and confidence – then I believe these young people can do anything."