Thirty-four St. Francis students are now published authors

Published 9:49 am Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vicksburg is now home to 34 newly published authors thanks to Kim Emfinger and Angie Zadrozny’s first grade classes at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School.

The students in the each class wrote one-page stories about an animal of their choosing. The stories and an original art piece by the author were then collected into a class book that was published in a hardback volume.

“We thought this would be something fun,” Emfinger said. “They have never done it and they will have a book that they can keep forever.”

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To celebrate the arrival of the books, the classes held a book signing on Wednesday that was attended by the authors’ parents.

“I had one student tell her mom this morning ‘I’m a published author. Aren’t you coming today to my book signing? You better,’” Emfinger said. “They are just excited and they feel proud of themselves.”

The book project offered the students a unique chance to hone their writing skills including spelling, grammar and handwriting. They had the freedom to write their own creative story and then they worked with the teachers to edit it and get it ready for print. The final step was to practice drawing in marker and writing in pen to get the stories ready to be printed in the book.

“We corrected spelling, we corrected grammar and then we wrote it for our final time,” Emfinger said. “They get writing practice. They use their creativity. They are building on that. [They get] a sense of pride because they are excited that they are published authors.”

The project has paid dividends in the classroom as both teachers said they have seen a marked improvement in their students’ writing ability and confidence.

“Since we did this, they can write anything and they know they can,” Emfinger said. “They are very confident in their writing. They are doing better with their grammar and their spelling. It helps with everything.”

Zadrozny added, “Their ability to put together sentences that at the end create a story [has improved]. I love their excitement and their smiling faces. They are proud of themselves.”

The cover of the book was a collection of the original artwork the students drew to accompany their stories, which were printed in the student’s handwriting.