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The Student to Student Writing Initiative

From one classroom to another...

It started as an assignment. Anna Yatsenko asked the students of her Advanced Russian class to retell a legend about the mineral wealth of the Urals. Russian Flagship student Michelle Cabrera responded with "The Giant's Wealth." The story was so engaging that another Flagship student, Yevgenia Tsveleva, offered to illustrate it. The final product with text and illustrations was photocopied as an example of student work.

On the other side of Portland, Russian Immersion Program Coordinator Natalia Gunther was lamenting the dearth of age-appropriate instructional materials for students in the Kelly Elementary School Dual Immersion program. Materials imported from Russia were aimed at native speakers, and materials translated from English were slow and costly. Natalia appreciated the photocopy of "The Giant's Wealth," but one photocopy was simply not enough for the approximately 100 children enrolled in grades K-3.

The solution was provided by Dennis Stovall and Abbey Gaterud of Ooligan Press, PSU's student-run publishing house. If PSU's Russian Flagship students wanted to write instructional materials for the students in the Kelly Elementary Dual-Language Immersion Program, Ooligan would be willing to publish. "The Giant's Wealth" was assigned to Ben Hamlin, a graduate student in PSU's publishing program, to design and layout. Author, illustrator, and faculty adviser were all thrilled with his design, and Portland Public Schools has already ordered copies for its own program.

The Student to Student Writing Initiative has something for everyone. PSU Russian Flagship students hone their writing skills; Ooligan Press has acquired an exciting new series; and the students of Kelly Elementary at long last have authentic instructional materials written to meet the needs of their program. The next project is the book City on the Hill: Tales and Legends of Nizhny Novgorod © 2013 by Jacqueline LaBerge (Author), Christiana Lenamond McGrady (Author), and Liz Dunn (Illustrator).