A new writing program for first- through third grades debuts in mid-September at Montgomery Elementary School in South Davis. Called Writing Buddies, the program pairs adult volunteers one on one with schoolkids to write stories.
Each week for six weeks, both volunteers and schoolchildren write a story on topics such as favorite people, places and foods. A final party celebrates the publication of individual Sharing Journals containing stories by kids and volunteers.
“A volunteer doesn’t need to know how to teach writing in order to participate,” says co-director Tony Fanning. “We give the volunteers full instruction, which we call ‘no-anxiety training.’ The volunteers quickly find out that writing together forges a two-way connection between a child and an adult buddy who cares. In fact, caring is the main requirement to be a volunteer.”
Fanning and his wife, Robbie, took over the Writing Buddies program on the peninsula in the Bay Area when adult education budgets blew up and the 15-year-old program was threatened. Then they retired to Davis a few years ago. Since then, they have been volunteering at Birch Lane and Montgomery elementary schools.
“We’re excited about introducing Writing Buddies to Davis,” said Robbie Fanning. Both Fannings have a background in teaching and literacy.
This fall, Writing Buddies will work with Amy Teaford’s second-grade class at Montgomery. The session runs for six weeks from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. on Fridays, Sept. 20 to Oct. 25.