Since the fall, a small group of Upper School students has worked with Humanities teacher Emily Falk to learn how to serve as peer readers and peer listeners for the work of other students. This group of about 10 students has made up the core of the School’s new Writing Center.
“The Center is not a physical place,” said Falk. “Students, during their available time, can instead sign up to meet with our Writing Center peer readers anywhere they would like.”
Falk learned about creating a Writing Center at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, where she is currently pursuing a master’s degree. She used materials and readings from her own program to train the students in giving feedback and holding conferences. Role playing and practice conferences were also part of the training to ensure that the peer readers understood how to make students feel comfortable sharing their work.
“We emphasized that this is about creating more conversation about writing,” said Falk. “We want to make sure that all students feel welcomed and supported.”
Maddie Kwasnick ’20 has taken the lead among Writing Center students since Falk introduced the idea.
“The role of a peer reader isn’t really to edit, it’s more to listen,” Kwasnick explained. “To let the writer know ‘this is what I’m hearing’ and ask questions that are going to help them reach a deeper level of thinking.”
Peer readers are able to work with students on any kind of writing, from homework assignments to creative projects. Students interested in booking conferences should use the form distributed by Kwasnick.