Tennessee’s Cheatham County Reading Council (CCRC) honored student authors from across the county on April 24 at the Pegram Elementary School library.
Each spring, the CCRC invites students from schools in Cheatham County to submit books that they have written, illustrated, and “published” (covered and bound to look like published books). Acceptable literature genres include original tales, personal narratives, fables, allegories, parables, legends, biographical sketches, and tall tales. The program is open to children of all ages. “Books may be selected from any classroom in a school system grades K-12,” says former CCRC Celebrate Literacy chairperson Charles Wallace.
This year students submitted 138 original books to the program judges. Books were judged using a rubric designed by the Tennessee Reading Association (TRA), a state council of the International Reading Association (IRA).
After local evaluation, CCRC selected the top 14 books to be sent to the TRA for evaluation on the state level.
Rachel Welsh, an eighth-grader at Cheatham Middle School, received a gold medal. She has submitted an entry each year since she was in second grade.
Silver medal winners were Lauren Moore, Megan Rich, Will Collier, Maranda Huffman, and Echo O’Connor from Pegram Elementary School. The silver medal winners from Ashland City Elementary School were Aviana Gordon, Rachel Sherman, Landon Hunter, Christian DePriest, and Jose Matos. Harpeth Middle School silver medal winners were Jenna Williams, Liam Miles, and Abigail Warren.
Student authors that did not win a medal were presented with a certificate for their participation.
Pictured are 10 of the 14 winners from the county's elementary and middle schools.
History of the Event
In 1983, IRA invited state councils to “Celebrate Literacy” within their states. TRA asked Dr. Elizabeth Brashears of Middle Tennessee State University to develop Tennessee’s plan for celebrating literacy. Brashears envisioned a program for Tennessee’s children in grades K-12 to fully create and publish their own books right down to the sturdy binding.
In the spring of 1984, local TRA councils were invited to submit seven books to the state, and Olympic-style medals (gold, silver, and bronze) were awarded.
However, Brashears disliked using the word “contest” to describe the program because her ultimate goal was to celebrate every student who participated. Therefore, each local council was to hold its own event so that authors would be recognized for their work.
About the Cheatham County Reading Council
CCRC President Mary Ellen doValle, an Education Specialist at Ashland City Elementary School, says that the council participates in Read Across America and Ages and Stages, an early child development project. Cheatham County Reading Council also recently received TRA Community Service Project Grants. Cheatham County Reading Council prepared and gave a PowerPoint presentation in collaboration with the county’s Family Involvement Coordinator that emphasized the importance of reading from pre-birth to death. The PowerPoint was presented at the “Ages and Stages” program which focuses on birth to 4 years of age. To further promote interest in reading among the young the council had appearances by the Cat in the Hat and Kermit, the Frog. The council provided the costumes for these characters. Contact Mary Ellen doValle to join or for more information.
About the Tennessee Reading Association
The TRA has 14 local councils and is a member council of IRA. The Association offers membership scholarships, grants, and award opportunities, including the TRA State Conference Scholarship, the Academic Scholarship, Community Service Project Grants, Reading Improvement Grants, Support Storytelling Grants, Celebrate Literacy, Newspaper in Education, Recognition of outstanding literacy professionals, and Honor Councils. Members receive three online newsletters each year providing them information on local and state issues and professional literacy articles. Members also receive the annual TRA peer-reviewed professional journal, Tennessee Reading Teacher. TRA hosts an annual conference, and members receive discounts on registration fees. The 2012 conference is December 2 to 4 in Murfreesboro. Their new website at www.tnreads.org features information and registration access to the conference, past journal and newsletter issues, committee information and forms, and application forms for scholarships and grants. Contact President Kathy Brashears to join or for more information.