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FOCUS ON: Writing Partners

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Introduction: The Community Engagement Center’s Writing Partners Program allows Sacramento State students to form pen-pal relationships with elementary school students in the community. The letter correspondence encourages elementary students to see themselves as college-bound, while providing the opportunity for college students to engage themselves within the community.

Video: (Narrator:) This is “Focus” from the campus of Sacramento State.

(Cathy Gabor, professor, Sacramento State:) “Does anybody want a little silver glitter?”

(Jim Finnerty, reporting:) It may sound and look like an “art” class at Sacramento State, but this is really a freshman English class with a very special purpose.

(Gabor:) “I teach writing partners in an effort to foster mentor-like relationships through literacy.”

(Finnerty:) “Writing Partners” is an ongoing university program where first year students interact with elementary school youngsters through a series of letter exchanges.

(Antonio Arellano, freshman, Sacramento State:) “It’s very fun because you write to kids you know and it’s interesting to see how they interact with you through the letters.”

(Gabor:) “Remember that we’re always striving to answer the questions that our writing partners ask us.“

(Finnerty:) The program gives college students a chance to take a leadership role and encourages elementary students to consider higher education.

(Finnerty:) At Florin Elementary, Melinda Draeger’s sixth grade class puts pencil to paper sharing life experiences.

(Melinda Draeger, teacher, Florin Elementary School:) “They get to interact with the students. They get to view their writing as actually written to an audience.”

(Finnerty:) And they share letters from their college correspondents.

(Florin Elementary School student:) “I used to be nervous dancing in front of people, but I’m not anymore…”

(Florin Elementary School student:) “My Hobbies are cheerleading, tumbling, shopping and just doing anything...”

(Florin Elementary School student:) “I like doing math because I like working with numbers...”

(Florin Elementary School student:) “Thank you for your sympathy about losing my father…”

(Draeger:) “They write about their lives. They write about what’s happening at school. They write about the things that they enjoy. It’s a process that makes everyone believe in themselves at the same time that they’re gaining the skills that will make them succeed and achieve their goals.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty Reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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