supporting Cambridge public school students

Congrats to Early Literacy Volunteer, Sharon McBride

Sharon McBride accepts Mack Davis Award from Kasey Appleman, Director of K-8 Programs

For eight years Sharon McBride has shared her passion for the written word with students at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School. As a writer and children’s book editor, Sharon has been able to bring real life knowledge and expertise to her volunteer work with the young authors in Summer Thompson’s third grade classroom.

Sharon’s weekly visits to the classroom during the Writers Workshop period have been a wonderful resource for both students and teacher. Nominating teacher Summer Thompson appreciates that Sharon shares her own experiences as a writer with her students. She describes Sharon as reliable and interested, with a particular skill for helping her struggling writers.

Sharon also brings a background in theater and has worked as a special education tutor for pre-school students. She has a Masters in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and also mentors graduate students with their writing process. It is worth noting that Sharon has worked with various publishing houses and was part of a team that brought more than 100 picture books, novels and non-fiction books to life, including some award-winning titles.

She particularly likes working with third graders because they are just “awakening” their reading and writing skills. Sharon feels strongly that there is a “seed of possibility” in each piece of writing by the students. It’s clear that Sharon has the skill to identify that “seed” and offer encouragement to get students to think more deeply about their writing. And Mrs. Thompson sees first-hand the confidence that Sharon fosters in each of her students.

Sharon says that she learns something about the curriculum and about the ways books and stories work with real kids during each visit. At times, she will speak to the whole classroom about the “big world of writing” and talk with students about her job as editor. This makes real world connections to the peer editing that students do in-class. Sharon says that students are often surprised to find out that the author and illustrator are not the same person.

Sharon periodically brings in books that she has edited or written to share with the class. For example, the students were learning about mysteries, and Sharon brought in a mystery composed of four short stories that she had written. Together, she and the students explored the adventures of Mr. Meow and Ruby. Sharon’s willingness to share her own books has exposed King School students to various literary genres, and in turn, has provided the students with the opportunity to share their perspective on her writing. Sharon’s volunteer work is clearly a win-win for everyone!

Thank you, Sharon, for your commitment to early literacy and specifically for expanding the world of literature for students at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School for over eight years. Today we honor you with the 2014 Mack I. Davis award.