May 20, 2010
All text and photos by: Jennifer Cowart
PUBLISHED AUTHORS: Several students from schools across Cranston were honored on April 10 at the RISC/IRA poetry event, held at Hope Highlands Elementary School. Here, students from Woodridge Elementary School and Hope Highlands Elementary School show off their own copy of “13th Poetry Anthology: Ocean Wonders,” in which their poems are featured.
Thirty students from Cranston can now add published author to their resumes, after being featured in the “13th Poetry Anthology: Ocean Wonders.”
Sponsored by the Rhode Island Sate Council of the International Reading Association, the book comprises work of hundreds of student poets across the state, as well as several teachers who participated.
According to Kathy Torregrossa, a Cranston elementary teacher and member of the RISC/IRA, one of the council’s main goals is to help teachers promote literacy locally and nationally.
Each of the 39 communities in Rhode Island was offered the chance to participate in the poetry project, and 24 chose to do so. An additional 28 teachers from Cranston’s elementary schools participated alongside their students.
The RISC/IRA reported receiving more poetry entries this year than ever before, making this year’s anthology the largest with 160 poems.
“I did a poetry lesson and then I had the whole class write a poem,” said Torregrossa, explaining how she utilized the opportunity in her own first grade classroom. “Then I had a group of fellow teachers review them. The teachers picked the best five and those are the ones I submitted.”
This year’s theme, Ocean Wonders, provided the poets with a direction in which to follow when writing their poems, which could be written in any style.
The students whose poems were chosen to be in the anthology were honored at a ceremony and poetry reading in the Hope Highlands auditorium on April 10. So many students were honored that day that they had to be split up into time slots, with each city and town being given a time slot.
Students arrived from as far away as Block Island, Westerly and Foster/Glocester to be honored that day.
Celeste Ferguson, member of the RISC/IRA authored the note at the beginning of the anthology.
“This book is dedicated to all those students in grades K-12 across the state who contributed their writing talents to help promote the importance of literacy in America,” she wrote. “When you read this anthology, you will be able to visualize being in the ocean, swimming among the many living things.”