National Writing Project

Connecticut Writing Project at Storrs Encourages Middle School Writing Centers

Publication: Hartford Courant
Date: April 4, 2012

Summary: The Ashford Middle School writing center, developed with ideas from the Connecticut Writing Project at Storrs, provides middle schoolers with the opportunity to tutor their peers in writing. Student volunteers from the University of Connecticut's Writing Center trained middle school students on how to tutor and how a writing center works.


Excerpt from Article

Janet Lussier, a teacher who is the director of the school's writing center, has worked since 2009 to launch the program at Ashford. She said she was excited to learn in August that the University of Connecticut's Writing Center had chosen her middle school for its program.

"The tutors have already been great, and their own teachers have noticed improvement in their writing," Lussier said.

Lussier said she attended seminars and workshops led by Jason Courtmanche, director of the Connecticut Writing Project, where she gained ideas on middle school writing centers, such as to shift the focus from spelling and grammar to more "high order concerns, like organization and ideas."

Tran Tran, a junior at UConn who is studying English, said they "started off the program by showing the students how to make better writers, not just how to make better papers," and that the tutors have progressed a lot in their own writing since September.

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