Facilitating Meaningful Reading and Writing Practices in Urban Schools through Student-Generated Literacy Initiatives

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Student-Driven Learning Strategies for the 21st Century Classroom






The Teens for Literacy program at a Title I school in downtown Savannah provides a forum for students to empower their peers and their community regarding the importance of literacy. Over the past four years, the author has had the honor of serving as faculty advisor for the project, which is a partnership between the university and school. The author collaborates with school counselors, the librarian, the Instructional Coordinator, and the principal to facilitate the initiative. A leadership team of thirteen middle school students in grades 6-8 generates ideas for promoting literacy among their peers. Student leaders have produced multiple editions of school-wide newspapers with topics they have selected; composed play vignettes spotlighting the importance of reading and writing; launched a blog with book reviews to promote summer reading among the student body; introduced a local Children's Book Festival author to the school community; established a pen pal exchange with students in Haiti; and inaugurated a school-wide poetry initiative, among other initiatives. As the year evolves, university undergraduate and graduate students are invited to serve as volunteers/mentors for various literacy projects. A Shadowing Day is held on the college campus each spring to introduce students to collegiate life.