Institute for Learning and Teaching

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Programs

Hispanic Writers in the Schools Program

The HISPANIC WRITERS WEEK IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM seeks to reach students at all levels of the public schools in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Lynn. The faculty, invited writers to the HISPANIC WRITERS WEEK IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM, is composed of writers from the four corners of the mainly Hispanic world. The 2007 faculty included Luis Alberto Ambroggio (Argentina), Rey Emmanuel Andújar (Dominican Republic), Naomi Ayala (Puerto Rico), Adela Basch (Argentina), Mario Ramiro Diaz, (Guatemala), Elkin Eduardo Echeverri (Colombia), and Danielle Legros Georges (Haiti) to name a few.

The goal of the HISPANIC WRITERS WEEK IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM is to encourage students and teachers to explore the process of writing and the experience of being a writer in both English and Spanish. The writers in residence are bilingual who work closely with students and teachers in their respective classrooms during the week, to encourage students to become comfortable and acclimated with literature in both languages.

Most present and past writers in residence, such as Marjorie Agosín (Chile), Jack Agüeros, Claribel Alegría (El Salvador), Martín Espada, Rosario Ferre (Puerto Rico), Demetria Martínez, Leroy Quintana, Yrene Santos (Dominican Republic), Charlie Trujillo, Sonia Valdez Rivera (Cuba), Tino Villanueva, poets Alan West Duran (Cuba), Raúl Ybarra (Nicaragua), and Daisy Zamora (Nicaragua), come from places other the United States and know very well what it means to leave one's country and inmigrate to a new one. These are writers who have confronted firsthand the experiences of war, terror or violence, and, in the classroom, work well with inner city students who have all too often been witnesses to or victims of urban violence. They are writers who offer students alternatives and fresh ways of understanding and reacting to their experiences and can speak convincingly of the importance of language in expressing feelings and emotions and the power of the written word to communicate to others the important issues facing them as individuals and as members of the community. Writers in residence serve as role models; committed individuals dedicated to the discipline that writing requires, writers who have learned the value of finding one's own voice and describing one's own history as a way of defusing and resolving conflicts, both internal and external.

Public Schools Reading

Writers in residence offer writing workshops throughout the day, Monday through Friday, in the various participating schools. The week culminates with a Saturday student reading program where a number students from each classroom are invited to read to their peers, teachers, parents, and community members in general in each of the schools, the literature work they created in the workshops. Each student upon successful completion of the workshops is awarded a certificate of achievement and those invited to read are awarded a medal.

Hispanic Writers Week Community Program

During this week and complementing the IN SCHOOL PROGRAM is the COMMUNITY READING PROGRAM visiting writers join in a Monday to Thursday program of evening readings, sharing their works with parents, teachers, school administrators, and an eclectic mixture of published, emerging, and aspiring Hispanic authors, poets and friends from the local communities. In 2007 there were 72 readers, including the invited writers, sharing their work with an overflow audience.


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