Franklin Pierce students help foster literacy at Rindge Memorial School

FPU student Liela Irwin works with a Rindge Memorial School student in the Writing Nest.

FPU student Liela Irwin works with a Rindge Memorial School student in the Writing Nest. COURTESY PHOTO

FPU student Isabell Collier works with Rindge Memorial School children on stories during the Writing Nest club.

FPU student Isabell Collier works with Rindge Memorial School children on stories during the Writing Nest club. COURTESY PHOTO

Rindge Memorial School students visit the Franklin Pierce University Fitzwater Center as part of a partnership between the schools to provide mentors for young writing students.

Rindge Memorial School students visit the Franklin Pierce University Fitzwater Center as part of a partnership between the schools to provide mentors for young writing students. COURTESY PHOTO

Franklin Pierce student Isabel Collier works with a Rindge Memorial School student during a visit to the Fitzwater Center on the Franklin Pierce University campus.

Franklin Pierce student Isabel Collier works with a Rindge Memorial School student during a visit to the Fitzwater Center on the Franklin Pierce University campus. COURTESY PHOTO

Rindge Memorial School students got the opportunity to record their own stories in the form of a podcast at the Franklin Pierce University Fitzwater Center.

Rindge Memorial School students got the opportunity to record their own stories in the form of a podcast at the Franklin Pierce University Fitzwater Center. COURTESY PHOTO

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-18-2024 8:31 AM

Franklin Pierce students are fostering a love of writing and literacy in Rindge Memorial School fourth- and fifth-graders with the “Writing Nest,” an after-school club where college mentors help students put pen to paper and produce stories.

The Writing Nest – a play on the fact that both Franklin Pierce and Rindge Memorial School have bird mascots, Ravens and Eagles, respectively – is born of a history of collaboration between the college and the school district, including Jaffrey-Rindge providing internship and student teaching opportunities as well as classroom space for Franklin Pierce education classes.

While those partnerships started with a collaboration between Jaffrey-Rindge and the college’s education majors, it has grown into other collaborations. The Writing Nest, for example, included Franklin Pierce students from a variety of majors.

Franklin Pierce student Riley Trembley said the opportunity has been great both for the college and the community.

“It’s just seeing how excited they got from a small effort on our part,” Trembley said of working with Rindge Memorial School students. “Just seeing how we were able to create an environment where they want to stay after school to write.”

Over several weeks, the college students helped to mentor the elementary writers, providing writing prompts which the children could take up, or they could work for multiple weeks on a single story.

FPU student Denasia Jones said she was hesitant at first.

“I thought, ‘I’m a biology major, what am I going to do with these kids?’ ” she said.

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But Jones said one of the girls she was paired with had an avid interest in science, and was fascinated with atoms and geology, so she wanted to incorporate science into her stories. It made her realize there were many ways to connect, Jones said.

“They are so excited every week for us to be there,” said FPU student Connor Doolittle. And, he said, after a few weeks of getting to know the children, “Suddenly, it’s you who’s excited to go every week.”

After several weeks of after school writing workshops, the elementary students who had participated in the Writing Nest got a special treat – a trip to Franklin Pierce University and the college’s communications department, known as the Fitzwater Center. There, they were issued official “press” badges, and got the opportunity to record their stories in the Fitzwater podcasting studio.

Those recordings are scheduled to be released as a podcast, which will be distributed by both Franklin Pierce and the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District.

To celebrate the culmination of the program, the Franklin Pierce students are scheduled to make a final visit to Rindge Memorial School for a Family Literacy Night on Thursday, April 18. The night begins at 5:30 p.m., with a book fair and a visit by live versions of both school’s mascots.

Franklin Pierce students will then lead story time and activities based around a book of their choosing from 6 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. Families are welcome to join for part or the entirety of the evening.

Joan Swanson, director of education and associate professor at Franklin Pierce, said she hopes the program will continue next year, and that the students who participated this year might return in leadership roles.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.