The Young Journalist organization, an initiative of a Vero Beach, FL. 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization, mentors fourth and fifth graders on how to become journalists. From one elementary school with six students in 2018, for the 2021 – 2022 academic year, the Program has expanded to over 60 students in ten elementary schools.
The Young Journalist Program is a free offering of The School District of Indian River County “Extended Day” Program, overseen by Dr. Deborah A. Taylor-Long and Barbara Musselwhite. According to Ms. Musselwhite, students are continuing to enroll, and instead of twice a week, the students at two schools want to meet three times a week.
Mentor Angela Himes recently wrote: “I have been a teacher for many years, but this is the most fun I have ever had. The children get so engaged. It’s beautiful.”
Since its inception in 2018, the Program has mentored over 150 students, at the School District of Indian River County elementary schools, the Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy and The Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation.
The Young Journalist Program helps grow writers, and through their writing, helps grow readers. It uses reading to support writing and writing to support reading. Reading, be it through research or absorbing other journalists’ writings, and each other’s writing, supports further writing.
Without curiosity, there would be no journalism. In addition to reading out loud from a developed 90-page curricula, the Young Journalists write scholarly articles about what they are curious about, which are published twice an academic year in 150 copies of a high-quality magazine, for themselves, their parents, teachers and school administrators.
In addition to reading from their curricula textbook, they are also beginning to read excerpts from the book Elements of Style. The original book was composed by William Strunk Jr. comprising eight “elementary rules of usage”, ten “elementary principles of composition”, “a few matters of form”, a list of 49 “words and expressions commonly misused”, and a list of 57 “words often misspelled”. E. B. White greatly enlarged and revised the book. In 2011 Time named it as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923.
According to Dr. Stein, Dean of Liberal Arts at Indian River State College, college students don’t even read from Elements of Style.