Armstrong Hosts Teens for Literacy Shadowing Day

On April 3, Armstrong hosted a Teens for Literacy Shadowing Day coordinated by Dr. Anne Katz, assistant professor of Education at Armstrong and faculty advisor for the Teens for Literacy program. The day was designed to celebrate Teens for Literacy student leaders and to recognize their hard work and achievements over the course of the 2013-2014 school year. This special day introduced middle school students from East Broad Street School to the many facets of college life. Shadowing Day highlights included a campus tour, a visit to an Armstrong Education class and a luncheon. The event also provided East Broad Street School students with the opportunity to meet and visit with current Armstrong students.

During Shadowing Day, Teens for Literacy student leaders played a spirited game of college term Jeopardy at Armstrong. Their dedication and enthusiasm reflected why they were chosen to be leaders. Teens for Literacy is a partnership between East Broad Street School and Armstrong that empowers East Broad’s student leaders to strategize and develop innovative ideas to encourage their fellow students to read. An outreach program of the College of Education, the partnership is the brainchild of former Armstrong assistant professor Allen Berger, who originated Teens for Literacy while serving as the Heckert Professor of Reading and Writing at Miami University in Ohio. While at Armstrong, he brought the project to Savannah.

“This school year, 12 middle school students at East Broad Street School have generated creative ideas and promoted literacy among their peers on a continual basis,” said Katz. “These students have inspired their school community about the power of literacy.” Teens for Literacy students created and distributed five newspapers, introduced a local children’s book author to their peers, launched a pen pal project with students in Haiti and created a school- wide poetry initiative.

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, the teens are involved in various projects. Teens for Literacy students are implementing a “Poem in Your Pocket Day” at East Broad Street School, selecting and distributing poems that fellow students can carry with them throughout the day. They are also encouraging students to participate by authoring their own poems. Teens for Literacy student leaders recently reviewed several books of poetry by Brod Bagert, the keynote speaker at Coastal Savannah Writing Project’s annual conference in February. The teens decided to write the poet letters, including several work samples featuring their literacy initiatives. Bagert replied to the students, expressing his strong support for the Teens for Literacy “Your initiative to become involved with literature at such a young age is amazing and inspiring,” he wrote. “Knowing that students such as you are working to teach other students about the importance of poetry and literacy gives me hope for the future. I hope you continue your journey as writers and teachers, and wish you all the very best of luck.” Over the past several years, student ambassadors have implemented reading campaigns at their school, writing rap songs, producing videos, presenting plays and reading aloud to younger students.

“Teens for Literacy inspires a love of reading in young people and encourages them to share that passion with their peers,” said Dr. Patricia Wachholz, dean of Armstrong’s College of Education. “We were delighted to host these impressive student leaders for a day on our campus.”