Festival of Words

English education students hone teaching skills at annual event

Ten University of Delaware English education students presented an interactive workshop at the 13th annual Festival of Words held March 9 at Appoquinimink High School in Middletown, Del.

These students, from the colleges of Arts and Sciences and of Education and Human Development, worked with 22 Delaware secondary students and their teachers to guide them through the best-selling young adult fiction novel, Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater.

This "realistic fantasy" book tells the tale of a group of characters who race beautiful and dangerous, flesh-eating horses that come out of the sea each November.

Incorporating this competitive premise into their presentation, the EDUC/ENGL 403 students developed a series of activities to help students understand the themes and conflicts in the book. Participants were "put through their paces," earning points for their teams as they moved their teams' water horses toward the finish line.

Event organizers praised the University teacher candidates for developing such an engaging strategy to introduce students to the novel.

Their course professor, Bill Lewis, said he was also pleased with their entertaining approach.

"They had to do what teachers do," Lewis said, "develop engaging activities, collaborate with their peers, choose instructional grouping options, provide scaffolding for students who need more help, and manage the flow of the instruction. They did a wonderful job."

Students who presented were:

Andrew Graney
Kevin Nai
Liz Greim
Kelli O'Connor
Allyson Heim
Jaclyn Vail
Megan Miller
Bre Ray
Ashley Baldanza
Arun Chacko

This is the fifth year in a row UD students have made a presentation at the Festival of Words, an event that draws some of the biggest names in young adult literature to the state.

Walter Dean Myers, this year's keynote speaker, is the 2013 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Previous guests have included Matt de la Pena, Rita Williams-Garcia, Patricia McCormick and National Book Award winner, M. T. Anderson.

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