The Valdosta Daily Times
Students in Sara Wilder’s 2012-2013 class at Dewar Elementary School have achieved something that few people accomplish. They are published authors.
Throughout the school year, Wilder encourages her students to write because she believes that being a good writer makes students good readers.
“Whatever the writing requirement is for my students, I double it. You have to learn how to become a good writer to come a better reader. When my students create a story from beginning to end, then reading becomes easier and they are able to understand the author better. I believe that the two go hand in hand, writing and reading,” said Wilder.
As part of their lesson last year, the students read “George Washington’s Socks” by Elvira Woodruff, a story about traveling back in time to a historical event.
It is that reading that led to the assignment for each student to write a story about traveling back in time to a historical event. Students were required to research the event and learn as much about it as they could. Some students checked out books from the library, others used the Internet. Once they had their information together, the students began writing.
With the help of Andrea Pipkin and Jailen Knight, Wilder was able to turn the 23 students’ stories into a book, including student-drawn illustrations for each story.
Wilder then sent the final draft to Student Treasure Publishing Company to have them printed.
After receiving the books, Student Treasure contacted Wilder asking if they could submit the students’ book to a national competition.
On June 3, Wilder was informed that their book had won the National Book Challenge and would be published.
When the students learned they had won, they were all excited.
Hannah Harnage, one of Wilder’s students, said, “I was at my cousin’s house when I found out. I ran into her room and yelled ‘We won!’ I was really excited. My favorite subject is history, so it was really cool."
Wilder said of the experience, “I cried when I found out that we had won. I am so very proud of my students and cannot wait to start the process for this year’s book."