Writing Program Begins 2010 Letter Exchange with RJ Frank Intermediate School

On September 13, the Writing Program kicked off its second annual Letter Exchange between students in our ACE Writing 1 and 2 classes and students from RJ Frank Intermediate School. Over 150 AVID students from RJ Frank visited campus to participate in a writing workshop lead by Writing Program instructors Robert Krut and Ilene Miele. Eighth grade AVID teacher Kristin Storey and Writing Program instructors Jennifer Johnson and Kathy Patterson helped guide the students through the session.

The Letter Exchange engages students in intellectual work rooted in their own experiences. Students in both groups learn from one another and reinforce what they know by sharing it with others. The correspondence with college students demystifies college culture for the middle schoolers and gives students who otherwise might not think of themselves as college bound the ability to imagine themselves in that setting. Letter writing also gives both groups practice with assessing the needs of real audiences and exploring appropriate strategies for communicating with them—skills useful for writing in school and beyond. Students gain confidence in transferring what they do know about writing from one context to another. And teachers are encouraged to show students how their school-based writing connects with real-world situations.

The Writing Program is currently planning a dinner to bring the students writers together to celebrate the exchange and make the letters public. Organizers Robert Krut, Ilene Miele, and Kristin Storey are working to raise funds for this event; for more information, contact the Ilene Miele at miele@writing.ucsb.edu.