NEW PHILADELPHIA - For the first time, Kent State University Tuscarawas Campus’s Young Authors program has expanded to be called Young Authors and Illustrators. Schools from around the county have students taking part in the program.
“It’s a wonderful enrichment opportunity for our students,” says Dover Avenue Elementary teacher Lindsay McIlvaine. 
Six Dover Avenue fifth-graders and six Dover High School ninth-graders worked together beginning last October when the group joined other schools from the county at a workshop at Kent State Tuscarawas.
“They worked with local authors and illustrators and were taught different skills,” says McIlvaine. "They were given a task or challenge for the school year, which was to pair up with someone in their grade – one person is the author and the other is the illustrator – and write a story together.”
McIlvaine and the high school’s Courtney Rees got the students together with the fifth graders busing to the high school to work with their ninth-grade counterparts. The freshmen acted as mentors, reading the grade-schoolers’ stories and giving recommendations along the way.
“The judges are reading the stories now,” said McIlvaine. “When we go back, they’ll have more workshops and then they will pick different winners in the different age groups.”
Adding the illustration piece to the program has been a big hit according to McIlvaine.
“Having just the authors like we did in the past was great in itself,” she says. “When they added the illustrating part it just made it so much better because we have kids who have that as their outlet, and this gave them a chance to really shine.
Both authors and illustrators have benefited from being a part of the workshops and working together on the project.
“I’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth,” says McIlvaine. “The authors come from both fifth-grade teams so I have some of them in class and some I don’t. But just getting to know them and work with them, they’ve grown tremendously just getting different ideas and collaborating with each other.”
The stories were recently submitted to Kent State Tuscarawas and the students are slated to head back to campus on February 21.