write6-300xStudents in Mount Olive, Mississippi may have been on summer vacation, but Mount Olive Ministries did not take a break.  Students had the opportunity to participate in several summer school options.  One of the options was a basic writing class designed for high school through adult learners.  Professor Jolynn Oliver from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa , offered the class as a way to help area youth and adults improve their writing skills and prepare for standardized tests that will be required for graduation, college entrance and graduate school.  Oliver used a new book called Write for Work:  Building Language Skills for the 21st Century (Henning, Meyer, Van Rys and Sebranek).  The 2011 textbook is designed for college students and focuses on writing skills necessary for the workplace as well as the classroom.  UpWrite Press of Burlington, Wisconsin donated twenty textbooks for the class.  Professor Oliver and her students were the first to use the books, and the publishers are anxious to receive feedback on the new textbook.

write3-300xSince Professor Oliver is convinced that effective learning doesn’t happen unless a learning community is created, the first days of class included literacy activities, icebreakers, team building games and sharing time.  Students seemed to enjoy the rigor of the class combined with a positive attitude toward writing and learning in general.   By the end of the class, students had created a fictional business and learned how to write several types of correspondence for their business.  Students also focused on writing a simple five-paragraph essay.  Since it was not possible to finish the textbook, Oliver hopes she can continue writing classes throughout the year.

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