St. Al launches writing center for students

Published 12:02 am Sunday, July 27, 2014

It was a gorgeous summer morning with no school in sight Friday, but 11 students sat studiously taking notes inside a St. Aloysius classroom. The upcoming seniors were attending a workshop on how to properly tutor fellow students for the implementation of St. Al’s first-ever writing center.
The idea came about after English teacher Laura Reid attended a symposium on transitioning to college writing at the University of Mississippi. After being introduced to Alice Johnston Myatt, associate director of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, Reid began to lay the groundwork to install a writing center with peer tutors at her high school. Using Myatt as a helpful guide, St. Aloysius has become the first school in Vicksburg with its own writing center.
“There’s a growing movement across the United States to put writing centers in high schools,” Myatt said. “We began putting together resources that we could use for people who were interested in that.”
Reid recognized the benefit of having this kind of resource at hand for her students and quickly worked to make her vision a reality. Now, 20 students (9 of whom could not make Friday’s workshop) will become the inaugural tutors for the writing center this year.
“We know when student writers are given support in their writing in high school, the transition to writing effectively in college is enhanced,” Reid said. “Retention is better, success is better, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Katrinka Wayne is a senior who will play an integral role in the tutoring process. She believes the symbiotic relationship between tutors and students will serve as inspiration for both parties as they further their writing careers.
“It’s definitely beneficial. I think the comprehensive thing would probably be that not only do other people benefit form this, but we do as well,” Wayne said. “We’re inspiring kids and future generations to go out and be better writers and get that future education that they need to be successful.”
The overarching goal is to use these students to both assist their peers and motivate them to achieve improved writing skills.
“I’m hoping that by seeing the higher achieving students working in the writing center and improving and being excited about writing, the student writers who go to the writing center for assistance will become more engaged in writing and more interested in writing as a process,” Reid said.

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