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Young authors taste thrill of publishing

Writing partners Ricky Pareja (left) and Jeremy Kovalsik discuss their stories while second-grade teacher Ms. Whiteman conferences with a student in the background. Submitted Photo Rachel Glick

Writing partners Ricky Pareja (left) and Jeremy Kovalsik discuss their stories while second-grade teacher Ms. Whiteman conferences with a student in the background. Submitted Photo Rachel Glick

MONTAGUE — Just learning to read themselves, Montague Elementary School’s miniature authors attended their first publishing party last week.

The school has had a storyteller-in-residence for the past three weeks, a program paid for through a $5,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

John Porcino of Amherst led writing workshops at all grade levels in the school but concentrated on the first grade, culminating in a publishing party for parents and teachers.

Elementary teacher Rachel Glick said Porcino taught students to tell their stories aloud, capturing images and details, as a stepping stone to translating those stories to the page in such a way that others would want to read them.

“At this point in the year, the first graders are ... just coming out of kindergarten and the process of telling their own story and then translating it into written form is really challenging,” Glick said.

The students rose to the challenge and the result was a three-page personal narrative authored by each student. Following a simple narrative arc, page one is the beginning, two the middle and three the end.

The grant application describes the program as a benefit for students and teachers. The elementary has recently begun using the Lucy Calkins writers’ workshop approach, which emphasizing storytelling and collaboration.

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