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  • "The transcript and table of contents for each writer's program are downloadable. You can find them by going to the writer's audio page under the "Listen/Scripts/Tools" tab. The Table of Contents for each writer gives you a condensed view of that writer's program, plus the exact time each audio track lasts.


  • From this site, you can play short tracks for your class or children, voices that bring the writers to life for the.  All the tracks - and a "table of contents" for the tracks - can be found on the writer's audio page, under the tab "Listen/Scripts/Tools."  


  • The writers' voices can bring it all to life. making points that can be discussed or enriching a history or social studies lesson.


  • The Activities page gives you ideas about ways you can use this site to inspire students and help them learn from these writers, while you teach skills. We have divided the activities into sections for your convenience.


  • Think of this website as a classroom resource. We know your time's limited, so we've tried to make it easy for you to weave WV writers into what you're already doing. See the Activities page and WVCCR Standards for this web site.

  • "Fourteen-writer Files" let you see and compare the comments of all 14 writers on the following subjects:  Reflections and Advice for writers, Growing Up in West Virginia, and state and local history.  Note: The Reflections/Advice file is now available, and the other three will be completed over the summer.

  • Coming this year: The Opportunities page, which will list West Virginia writing contests and writing training programs in West Virginia and nearby states.


Heads Up!


This website was created for West Virginians of all ages, to connect us all with some of the state's nationally-celebrated writers. It includes excellent material for K-4 and material more appropriate for older students and/or adults.  


In other words, some parts of this site are marvelous for K-4, and others are not. We have done our best to help you find material that fits your students.


Use your judgment, as you do with other programs. We have provided information that will help you choose the best material for your students, but nothing substitutes for your judgment.


Listen/read through a writer's program to decide what tracks will work best for your students.


Age-level tips:

Elementary,: K - 5: Cynthia Rylant, Marc Harshman and Sandra Belton are primarily children's writers. Your students will love their material, especially when they know these are West Virginians!  As always, preview.

Some writers for older students have material that is not suitable for elementary children. But they tell wonderful growing-up-in-West-Virginia stories that would be great for second-graders to hear. Check them out.


The Growing Up in West Virginia  "Fourteen-Writer File" helps you become familiar with the background of each writer. An example: Irene McKinney tells about growing up in a mountain farming community: neighbors helping neighbors, chores, house with no heat. 


Some writers for older students also wrote material younger kids would love. Example: poet Maggie Anderson's "vegetable dream" poems. 



Middle grade students:  4 - 8:  These students are generally more advanced and mature than K-3 students. Once again, preview. You know your students. Use your judgment.  There's much great material here. Choose the material that fits your group. And review the primary activities: They can be adapted for middle students.


Older students, 9th grade and up:   This site is helpful for upper level social studies and West Virginia history, as well as language arts. As always, choose the material that fits your group. There is so much here!  Check out the Activities page.  Use the children's writers for writing skills practice!  All 14 writers offer older students valuable advice about writing.


Coming soon: "All-Fourteen Files:"

We are creating a valuable tool for teachers: files that make it easy for teachers to compare writers, to show the many pathways to writing. 

  • On Writing:  This file gives you a chance to see what all 14 writers have to say about writing: how they do it, why they do it, how they got started, what encouraged them, advice to other writers. etc. This file is a treasure chest, particularly for older students and their teachers.


  • On Growing Up and West Virginia: This file helps you compare the upbringing, growing-up years, and influences on  most of the writers. It makes in easier to talk about the fact that writers come from many different kinds of upbringings. Of note for us: Many writers came from families that love to sit around and tell stories.  Many experienced hardships reflected in their writing.

  • (Coming soon)  West Virginia history and culture as a source of inspiration for writers. Denise Giardina, Mary Lee Settle, and Keith Maillard all researched and wrote historical fiction set during actual historical times in West Virginia. Other writers, such as Jayne Anne Phillips and Cynthia Rylant, mined local history.

Teachers: Here's information that will help you use this site.

Features useful to teachers:
students with teacher

Getting started 
in the classroom

Once you introduce the site, it becomes another classroom tool, These steps will help you get started. 

student answering question in class

1.  Introduce the site and writers to yourself:

  • Enjoy the website! Listen to the audio programs. Be sure to explore "The Writers" tab (writer home pages) and the "Listen" tabs (writer audio pages). Each writer will have some jewels. Decide which passages entertain you, stir you and make you proud.

  • Decide which writers work best for your class. Download the transcripts and tables of contents for those writers. Put them in a folder so you can make notes as you go along.

    • Mark the transcript as you listen. Which tracks might you like to play or feature?​

  • Scan through the ideas on this page.  As you read them and as you listen to the programs, you'll have your own ideas. Write them down. We hope you'll try them and share them. We want teacher-tested ideas! There's a handy form on the Contact page.


  • If you have questions, send them to Let us know how you like the site too!


2.  Introduce the site to your class:

  • Use the web site to give your class a parade of writers, projected on a big screen. Show them proof that West Virginia kids can and do grow up to be writers. A tour is a positive thing to do, no matter how much you plan to use this site. It helps torpedo stereotypes.


  • Use the writers' voices to bring them to life.  Let them hear voices as you introduce, letting them know the writers come from many backgrounds. See the childhood stories file

  • Flip through the writer pages, telling where they're from, some details. Give the students a quick glimpse of each writer and a longer glimpse of a few writers.


3.  After the intro: ideas

  • Choose the writers you feel are appropriate for your students.  Show a book or books by that writer if you can. Let them hear the writers' voices, speaking and reading and talking about their lives. 

  • Maybe set a short "writer" time? for instance, for younger students, 20 minutes after lunch weekly or daily? For older students, "writer of the week?"  Play a track or a few tracks.  Sometimes have an associated group activity, sometimes homework. 

  • Give students easy assignments related to that writer, that require them to practice skills you want them to practice. Do them as a group, as homework, or both.

  •  Idea for advanced or interested students: Have each student choose more than one writer they'd like to study. Ask them to write about why they chose those writers. Have them compare and defend their choices. Then they narrow it down to one >

  • Explore the activity ideas on the Activities page.

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