“Writing Partners” is a pen pal exchange between first-year college students at Lynchburg College and Payne Elementary School students. Over a two month period (see a typical calendar below), pen pals will exchange letters. Aside from the usual get-to-know-you stuff, the letters will focus on two topics:


making a collage by putting bits and pieces of string, photographs, fabric, etc. together

writing a story by putting together scenes and people and dreams


In the final letter, Payne students will include a short illustrated story and a picture of themselves. Lynchburg College students will spend the last few weeks of class animating that story with a program called “Director.” When finished with their projects, LC students will visit their pen pals and give them CDs with their animated stories on them.


At its most basic, the program aims to:  


provide a pressure-free opportunity for elementary school students to read and write (this means: there are no requirements or expectations about how much Payne Elementary students write or whether they spell correctly, etc.)


involve college students in Lynchburg community life


start a partnership between Payne Elementary and Lynchburg College writing teachers that could   develop into some grant awards for bringing better technology to the school


It goes without saying that LC students will be trying in their letters to


encourage their pen pals to think about reading and writing as a resource in their lives—as activities that can enrich their lives


model strategies of good reading and writing


The program has been very successful in the past 5 years. As one teacher of a class who participated commented, “I sensed that my students feel more successful and secure as writers because they can respond to a grown-up friend.” Another said that “I saw students open up dictionaries to find out what a word their partner had used meant.” Many simply said that their students looked forward to their pen pal letters and were eager to share them with their friends and family.



Calendar for 2005 Writing Partners Exchange RS Payne/Lynchburg College


When What's Due In CD's Details
Thursday, January 27 First Letter Share basic pen pal stuff. Feel free to embroider your letter with design or glue-ons, with illustrations, etc.
Friday, February 24 Second Letter Respond to their questions and then describe how to write story and make a collage: give a one or two panel example.
Friday, March 11 Third Letter Respond to their comments and questions and build on your stories/collages. Request that they send you an illustrated story that uses some collage and some drawing.
Friday, April 22 Animation of Story Visit to R S Payne to meet and show projects