Students Give 8th-Graders Writing Help

Article excerpt

Byline: Danelle Hlavacek

Some juniors and seniors at Elgin High School are sharing their time and their experience with middle school students by teaching them the basics of creative writing. The goal is to give the younger kids a foundation for writing short stories in a program called Writers-in-Residence, started six years ago by English and creative writing teacher Carol Morrison.

"I wanted to do something for those serious about writing," Morrison said.

The junior and senior mentors are in Morrison's creative writing class and have taken a writing class with Morrison before. Children at all of Elgin High's feeder middle schools are eligible to take advantage of the writing help. Eighth-grade English teachers select a group of interested students to benefit from some one-on-one coaching.

The coaching is an important chance for the eighth-graders to really explore creative writing.

"I like that you can write what you feel and not what you're told," said Ashley Birckbichler, an eighth-grader at Larson Middle School who participates in the writing program.

That initial look at creative writing leads many of the middle school students to become involved in the program as high school students. …