The Young Journalist (TYJ) is a free high-quality after-school academic enrichment program offered by the School District of Indian River County (SDIRC), FL. to third, fourth and fifth graders in the SDIRC’s “Extended Day” Program. The Program is also conducted at Imagine South Vero and Fairlawn Magnet, Ft Pierce, St. Lucie County.
As TYJ enters the 2022-2023 academic year, it has increased the number of SDIRC schools enrolled in the program from eight to 12, adding Pelican, Treasure Coast, Glendale, and Sebastian elementary schools. Enrollment at all 14 schools has increased from 34 to over 100 students.
To respond to the increased enrollment, The Young Journalist has increased its staff of mentors who coach students on reading, reading comprehension and writing sentences, from six to 11.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Research shows that high-quality afterschool programs improve students’ educational outcomes, school attendance, and social and emotional learning. Consistent participation in afterschool programs has shown lower dropout rates and has helped close achievement gaps for low-income students.
The foundation of the TYJ program is expository writing. There has been little research on writing – and practically none of it has focused on teaching students to write sentences. Difficulty understanding how to write sentences can be a major obstacle to comprehension.
Journalist David Brooks, who is a columnist for The New York Times, hit the nail on the head in his recently released book, The Second Mountain, The Quest for a Moral Life. Mr. Brooks writes, “One of the things good writing mentors do…is to teach you not to be afraid to write badly. Get the first draft out even if it’s awful. Your ego is not at stake.”
Sustainability for continuing our growth and inclusion of more students depends on community generosity. Please visit www.theyoungjournalist.com to read about the success of the program and our funders. You can be one too. We are an initiative of T. T. Hardy Online News Corp., 501 C 3 nonprofit. Contributions are tax deductible.