Book Writing Residency

13712_10206440442548928_8993718366868693849_n-2Personal Story Writing & Reading Residency: Facilitated by Anita Woodley, CAPS Literary Artist

This is an innovative, fun, and engaging way to enhance writing, reading, and communication skills through straight talk, humor and performance. Since 2014, “Stories Come To Life,” has empowered more than 700 sixth grade students at Neal Middle School in the Durham Public School System. This includes students who read 50% below grade level. In 2017, sixth grade benchmark testing revealed that the students have improved, raising score above 50 percent at Neal Middle. For the 2016-2017 academic year, this compelling program has expanded to three Middle Schools, serving 700 sixth graders at Neal, Lowe’s Grove and James E. Shepard. The residency’s non-traditional curriculum and structure was inspired by the people in CAPS Teaching Artist Anita Woodley’s life, and her personal concern for the reading and writing deficits students living in poverty experience steaming. Students all shared their written personal narratives about moments with turning points in their life. Ms. Woodley shares well-formed characters from her award-winning plays, and students may choose to ask their questions of one of these wise, no-nonsense creations.  Each story is unique with a different mood and flare. “The students truly seemed to find their ‘inner story-teller’,” says Ms. Jacqueline Kersey, one of the sixth grade class teacher at Neal Middle School. The Stories Come to Life Literacy Residency is successful in helping all students realize that the stories they have are worth sharing with the world, and publishes a book containing each class’s work. Each student receives an attractively designed book and certificate of completion. In 1984, at 8-years old, Anita taught her first group of school-aged children how to write about their circumstances. They weren’t enrolled in school due to their parents addiction to crack cocaine, so Mrs. Woodley’s mama would wash down the stairs for her to hold her classes after school. See photo gallery at the bottom of the page.

READ NEWS COVERAGE at these links: Duke University (2017) … The News & Observer (2016)

  • 2014 Neal Magnet Middle School
  • Book 1 (2014) Ms. Kersey’s Students
    • 2015 Neal Magnet Middle School
  • Book 2 (2015) Ms. Dabiero’s Students
  • Book 3 (2015) Ms. Mullaney’s Students
  • Book 4 (2015) Ms. Putt Students
  • Book 5 (2015) Ms. Burke’s Students
    • 2016 Neal Magnet Middle School
  • Book 6 (2016) Ms. Dabiero’s Students
  • Book 7 (2016) Ms. Mullaney’s Students
  • Book 8 (2016) Ms. Putt’s Students
    • 2017 Lowe’s Grove Magnet Middle School (COMING JUNE 2017)
  • Book 9 (2017) Ms. Curry’s Students – Core 1
  • Book 10 (2017) Ms. Curry’s Students – Core 2
  • Book 11 (2017) Ms. Curry’s Students – Core 3
  • Book 12 (2017) Ms. Curry’s Students – Core 4
  • Book 13 (2017) Ms. Silva’s Students – Core 1
  • Book 14 (2017) Ms. Silva’s Students – Core 2
  • Book 15 (2017) Ms. Silva’s Students – Core 3
  • Book 16 (2017) Ms. Silva’s Students – Core 4
    • 2017 James E. Shepard Middle School (COMING JUNE 2017)
  • Book 17 (2017) Mr. Sims Students – Core 1
  • Book 18 (2017) Mr. Sims Students – Core 2
  • Book 19 (2017) Ms. __ Students – Core 1
  • Book 20 (2017) Ms. __ Students – Core 2
  • Book 21 (2017) Ms. __ Students – Core 3
  • Book 22 (2017) Ms. __ Students – Core 4
    • 2017 Neal Magnet Middle School (COMING JUNE 2017)
  • Book 23 (2017) Ms. Mullaney Students – Core 1
  • Book 24 (2017) Ms. Mullaney Students – Core 2
  • Book 25 (2017) Ms. Mullaney Students – Core 3
  • Book 26 (2017) Ms. Mullaney Students – Core 4
  • Book 27 (2017) Ms. Putt’s Students – Core 1
  • Book 28 (2017) Ms. Putt’s Students – Core 2
  • Book 29 (2017) Ms. Putt’s Students – Core 3
  • Book 30 (2017) Ms. Putt’s Students – Core 4
  • Book 31 (2017) Ms. Thomas’ Students – Core 1
  • Book 32 (2017) Ms. Thomas’ Students – Core 2
  • Book 33 (2017) Ms. Thomas’ Students – Core 3
  • Book 34 (2017) Ms. Thomas’ Students – Core 4
  • The 2015 program of “Stories Come to Life” was made possible through the CAPS program and is funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) grant, Durham Arts Council (DAC) Annual Arts Fund, and Durham Public Schools (DPS) support. Fresh fruits were delivered and prepared by Grocers On Wheels.
  • The 2014 program of “Stories Come to Life” was made possible through the generous support of the Southwest Durham Rotary Club, Neal Middle School and contributions made to the Durham Arts Council Annual Arts Fund.