By Shirley Shuman
From 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the middle school cafeteria was the venue for a literacy fair developed and presented by English teacher James King’s sixth grade students. The purpose of the fair, King explained, was “the promotion of famous authors and books to get more people to read those books.”
A total of 80 projects—41 individual and 40 partnered, were on display during the two hour fair. The project involved serious preparation and the instructor pointed out that it covered many, if not most, of the state’s objectives for a sixth grade English class.
For example, the first step was a paper based on research of an assigned author. Each individual student conducted research on the author and wrote an essay developed on the results of the research. That essay, of course, was expected to be written using correct grammar and mechanics of writing as well as containing proper citation of sources.
Next, each student or pair developed a display board and a PowerPoint which illustrated highlights of the writers’ lives and their works. These writers ranged from English poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats through Herman Melville, Robert Frost, Edgar Alan Poe, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and more to authors such as Roald Dahl, Stephanie Myers, and Rick Riordan. Most students appeared to find the writers they researched interesting.
One student, Avah Mollohan, and her partner, Natalie Garrett, completed research on Stephen King. Mollohan said that she had never read any of King’s works and knew nothing about him before they began their work. She did note, “From what we learned about him, his books sound like really good books.”
The most difficult aspect of the paper for the two girls, according to Mollohan, “was the works-cited page. The most difficult part of the project, she felt, was “probably the board.” She did indicate that they learned how to cite sources and how to develop a long-term project as well as quite a bit about Stephen King.
Instructor King is definitely pleased with the results of this project for his sixth-
grade students. He was also happy with the turnout of individuals who came to view the projects. “We had many parents and younger students along with several students stopping by on their way to sports practices.” He was especially happy to see the younger students because they are a big part of the intended audience.
By Shirley Shuman