Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Literary Cafe at Challenger demonstrates kindergarteners' progress in writing

Challenger kindergartener Reese Howard, 6, reads a story she wrote to her parents, Tiffany Reese, 34, and Jay Reese, 35.

PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE | Special to the Times

Challenger kindergartener Reese Howard, 6, reads a story she wrote to her parents, Tiffany Reese, 34, and Jay Reese, 35.


Kindergartener Reese Howard, 6, bent over her story, concentrating on the words she had written about her mother.

As she read aloud to her parents, Tiffany and Jay Howard, her mother helped her from time to time when Reese stumbled over a word.

The occasion was the annual Literacy Cafe in Margie Yurtinus' classroom at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics. Yurtinus posts monthly student writing samples during the school year so parents can see how much progress their children have made.

In August, the children were not writing. She would have them dictate their thoughts to her, and she wrote them down. That evolved, in September, to asking the children what they could do with 10 apples on top (from Dr. Suess), to get them started writing on their own. By May, students were writing their own thoughts.

In September, Reese wrote, "I can de a hastand weth the applse uop on top." In May, Reese presented a booklet to her mother, which included, "My mom is as buootflle as the pinke orange flawer blooming nex dore."

There was no prompt. It came from her.

"The spelling has improved," Tiffany Howard said. "Sentence structure has improved."

She added that Reese's later sentences contained more developed ideas.

Parents and other visitors were treated to brunch during the cafe, and student work was posted in the room and the hallway. The children practiced fiction and nonfiction writing throughout the year.

The beginning kindergarteners began simply, but progressed considerably.

"They're writing extensive pieces now," Yurtinus said.

Literary Cafe at Challenger demonstrates kindergarteners' progress in writing 05/28/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  3. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  4. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.