By JOSH ECHT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
ND THEY LIVED HAPPILY ever after."
Latasha Tucker, a sophomore at The Rayen School in Youngsotwn, finishes reading aloud to six fourth-graders, closing the blue paper book she spent hours creating.
They sit at rapt attention on hard metal benches, hanging onto every word.
Fifty 10th-graders from The Class Academy at Rayen read fables they wrote for a class project to 150 Harding Elementary pupils Wednesday morning.
"It's nice to write stories so others can know how you feel about things," Tucker said.
A project for Yvette Carter's 10th-grade English class turned into a collaborative experience between Class Academy, a 250-student learning community within Rayen, and Harding Elementary, which serves 450 kindergarten through fourth-grade pupils.
"I came up with the idea during class," Carter said. "There are three main ideas behind the fables: relevance, rigor and relationship."
Carter said relevance dealt with the fables teaching a lesson. Rigor involved students doing rigorous researching of fables, as well as writing their own, she said.
"Relationship, the third idea, is based on students coming to school and sharing their work with others, she said.
Student Maleka Curry credited Carter with her writing development.
"I like to write, and she gives me new experiences to explore ideas," Curry said.
Curry said the fourth-graders were attentive and intelligent.
"They're good listeners," she said.
Jerome Harrell, Rayen's academic dean for The Class Academy, said mentoring was good experience for the high school students.
We wanted to do something positive," he said.
Harding Elementary Principal Beverly Schumann said the fable reading was a way for students to share their work with others.
"The reading was good in that it introduced literary circles," she said. "It's a modeling process."
Literary circles are groups of students who collectively read their work aloud in a gathering.
Fourth-grader Lamarr Greene said he enjoyed the dinosaurs in one of the fables.
"I liked the pictures and the story," he said. "I liked the drawings of the people, too."