Middlebrook pilots student publishing program

As part of an enrichment grant from the Wilton Education Foundation, sixth grade writing workshop teacher Suzana Prata, reading workshop teacher Tom Koch and social studies teacher Will Mathews piloted an in-house publishing program for six Middlebrook students this year.

Through the program, two students from each sixth-grade team wrote and published their own books — “complete with an ISBN,” said Prata — with the final objective of “students experiencing the process of writing and publishing their own book.”

“We wanted to design an experience that was about the creative process and also brought student work to an audience outside of the school walls,” said Prata.

The six students were selected to participate in the pilot based on their “academic performance and their level of interest,” said Prata. They began writing their books in November.

Prata, Mathews and Koch routinely met with the students — both individually and as a group — “to discuss the work, make connections, get inspiration, set deadlines, and offer support,” said Prata.

“The genre of writing was completely student-driven and the final product was published through 48 Hour Books, an online self-publishing company,” she said. “Fifty copies of each title have been printed.”

Superintendent Kevin Smith was “fully in support of this new initiative,” said Prata, and the Wilton Education Foundation’s grant allowed for the purchase of Chromebook computers for the students to use for the pilot and also covered the costs associated with printing the books through 48 Hour Books.

The six published student-authors and the titles of their books are:

  • William Bonnist — Lacrosse and Me.

  • Alexandra Breakey — One Last Run.

  • Matthew Fieldman — Slumber.

  • Noel Schlageter — Permanent Vacation.

  • Samantha Victor — Food Fight.

  • Catherine Young — Fake.

A book reading, signing, and talk will take place in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room on Monday, June 13, from 4:30 to 6:30, to celebrate the students’ work.

Copies of their books will be available for purchase on a suggested donation basis, with all proceeds going to benefit the Wilton Education Foundation and Wilton Library.