Bridgeport students to participate in writing conference at Fairfield University

The Connecticut Writing Project–Fairfield (CWP), based at Fairfield University, will welcome more than 100 Bridgeport youth in eighth through 12th grades to campus on May 21 for the first Writing Our Lives-Bridgeport conference. Sponsored in part by Bank of America, the day-long event will highlight the importance of writing in and out of school in a wide variety of genres.

“We are extremely thankful for Bank of America’s investment to writing programs for Connecticut youth,” said Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall, CWP director. “Their willingness to sponsor our work has helped us to envision larger events for young writers in southern Connecticut.”

The Writing Our Lives-Bridgeport conference offers several workshops led by writers in a variety of careers and professions.

“We’ve invited journalists, poets, and academics,” said Crandall, an assistant professor in Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. “We have presenters who compose for media organizations, who work with international non-profits, and who promote for the arts.”

The day will also feature the creative work of young adult novelist and children’s writer Kwame Alexander, who recently was nominated for the NAACP book awards.

“Bank of America is committed to supporting initiatives that open the door to future employment opportunities for young people in Southern Connecticut,” said Bill Tommins, southern Connecticut market president, Bank of America. “The Writing Our Lives-Bridgeport conference doesn’t just provide an outlet for creative expression, it connects participants with the communications expertise they will need to successfully enter the workforce.”

The Connecticut Writing Project-Fairfield is one of three National Writing Project locations in the state. Each year, the CWP works at Fairfield University, Central Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut to sponsor summer institutes for teachers and to offer youth programming with a mission to promote best practices for writing.

There are two sessions of the 2013 Young Writers’ Institute for students in sixth through 12th grades. The first is July 8 through 19 and the second is July 22 through Aug. 2. CWP-Fairfield will also run a new Younger Writers’ Institute for children in third through fifth grades from July 8 through 12. All sessions run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with lunch included. Applications and more details are available at

“The Common Core State Standards adopted by Connecticut expects a lot more writing across all content areas and grade levels,” Crandall said. “Students will need to demonstrate proficiency in a wider variety of genres written for audiences with purposes that matter to them. Educators who are part of the National Writing Project network are better prepared to these challenges.”

NWP is often applauded as the best professional development model for teachers and the positive influence they have on preparing students as writers in school and beyond.

The Writing Our Lives-Bridgeport event is meant to stimulate conversations about writing and literacy. Working with Hoops4Hope, a nonprofit that teaches children life skills in Africa, the participants will explore what “Literacy4Life” means.

“We want every student who attends the conference to leave inspired,” Crandall said. “We want them to return to school with a passion for writing and changing the world.”

For more information on this workshop and other CWP events and initiatives, email Crandall at [email protected]

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