As children grow as readers and writers at Germantown Academy, we seek to make it a joyful and rewarding process. Across their time in Lower School, students build skills as readers, writers, listeners and speakers through a variety of literacy experiences.
You will find PreK children reading their writing to their fourth grade buddies, GA third graders reading and voting on variety of great picture books in their March Madness Book Tournament and fourth graders hosting an annual “Hot Chocolate House” where they share winter poetry with their families. All of these experiences help students see themselves as readers and writers and build a strong foundation of written and oral communication skills; an essential capacity in the 21st century. Today, we took a peek into Brooke Caffey’s first grade classroom as they prepared for their Writers’ Café.
Caffey shares, “One of our fall highlights every year is the very first Writers’ Café, during which students present their published personal narrative pieces. This culminating event at the end of our 6 week unit celebrates the progression from oral storytelling to writing a true “small moment” story to share with others. In addition to developing reading and writing skills, students learn how to work with a partner and how to give helpful feedback. Once the pieces have been edited, titled, and illustrated, it’s show time!”
“It’s truly amazing and rewarding to watch the confidence these young writers demonstrate while presenting their work in front of an audience.”
This year, our families joined in a special way via the classroom’s livestream technology. Parents and grandparents were live on the Zoom screen and each family was able to give words of congratulations to their young author after they shared their piece. In a year where it can be challenging to connect, our livestream technology has been a gift, allowing classroom events such as this to become accessible to an even larger audience.
Rita Le, GA 1st and 4th grade parent, has had the opportunity to attend many writer’s celebrations over the years. “My son started at GA in Kindergarten as a child who loved math and science. Now, he is in 4th grade; still a math and science kid but he loves to write. He uses his imagination and doesn’t mind going out of his comfort zone. The amazing teachers have brought out the confidence in our children, taught them to explore and use their imaginations, taught them how to excel in their strongest areas and how to identify and work on their weakest subjects.”
Rita’s daughter, Izzy ‘32, reflected on preparing for the Writers’ Workshop experience, “I wrote about mini-golfing with my family. I changed things and added things until I really liked the way it was. If you forget a word, you can do a carrot and then write the word on top. I think my big brother, Damian, would add ten thousand more details to this story. I love writing.”
Opportunities like a Writers’ Café experience help children young build their oral and written communication skills in authentic and meaningful ways because inspiring a lifelong love of reading and writing is the heart of literacy learning at Germantown Academy.