Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

Students at East Franklin were treated to a concert and visit by Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith last week as part of the band’s “I Write my Story” initiative.

“It really meant a great deal,” East Franklin Elementary School Principal Landon Holland said of having the program available to students. “It promoted writing/literacy with the students at school.  It was also very personal because our own Assistant Principal Mrs. [Sandra] McMahan is the founder of ‘I Write My Story.’ It was wonderful to see all the students receive a journal from the foundation. All day long and even at car riders as we were dismissing I saw students with their journals out writing. A couple of kids came up to me to read their stories they had written since that morning.”

McMahan’s family, including her husband and daughter are members of Mountain Faith.

“I Write My Story” is a literacy initiative, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of writing among all students to ensure future successes in any career path students may choose.

The mission of the organization is to motivate students to write creatively and discover the importance and benefits of quality writing, while improving literacy skills in all academic areas. This goal is accomplished by providing students with a musical program highlighting songwriting.  Students were invited to embrace a fun musical experience that incorporates personal stories through poetry, story writing and song.

Students were also provided a personal writing journal to encourage their creativity. They heard an inspiring message from the program that  assisted in introducing students to ways of being creative both in the classroom and at home. The broader message emphasized that writing is a critical component and a necessary skill to compete effectively in life in order to fulfill potentials and reach goals towards a successful path.

Journals are provided to help give students access to writing materials. In order to improve writing successes, students need access to writing materials.  More than 50 percent of low-income families have no access to quality print in their homes.  Introducing students to age-appropriate books and access to writing materials has been shown to almost triple their interest in reading and writing within a few months.  Studies indicate that children growing up in households with books and outlets for creativity are more likely to extend their years in school and advancing to college.  It is critical, especially early in education to put books and writing supplies in the hands of students to address the literacy crisis in this country.