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Students create children's books

Students in multiple sections of UNG's first-year composition course this spring produced children's books and had a chance to read them to local kids before the end of the semester.

Students in multiple sections of the University of North Georgia's (UNG) first-year composition course this spring produced children's books and had a chance to read them to local kids before the end of the semester. 

Lyn Froehlich and Haley Hodges, senior lecturers of English, partnered on the project for their English 1102 courses, which they launched after attending the Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership's High-Impact Practices Academy. In addition to a textbook that helped prepare them for creating the book, students were also able to hear from a variety of speakers who work in creative industries to help them with needed skills. 

Freshmen Sophia Shaw and Eliza "Eli" Little embraced the assignment, working together on a book that built on their friendship that began in kindergarten. Their book, "The Bob and Billy Show," was a nod to the humorous videos they have created since childhood. 

"We thought it would be a great opportunity to show kids the importance of a long-lasting friendship," Shaw, a Peachtree City, Georgia, resident pursuing a degree in kinesiology, said. "And we also wanted to incorporate the imagination aspect into it because that's a big part of our lives." 

Shaw and Little were among the students who were able to read their books to local children at Giggle Monkey Toys in Dahlonega, Georgia, late in the semester. Tammy and John Clower, the owners of Giggle Monkey, are both UNG alumni. Students also read their books at Bear Book Market in Dahlonega.  

Little, a Peachtree City, Georgia, resident pursuing a degree in criminal justice with a minor in criminal justice forensics, said the publication was a great way to end her final class with Shaw as they begin taking their degree-specific courses. She also said the project gave her a confidence boost and inspired her. 

"It made me want to write another book," Little said. "That's a new goal of mine." 

Froehlich said she and Hodges wanted to help make students more marketable by giving them this experience early in their college education.  

"A lot of our students are hungry for something different," Froehlich said. "They're thinking creatively in this course. We don't have to wait on these types of classes until their senior year." 

Hodges and Froehlich embedded a student advisory board in the class, allowing the students and faculty members to share ideas with each other and refine the new course concept as the semester progressed. Ultimately, it was about providing students with a tangible experience. 

"They were producing something that was for an audience beyond our class," Hodges said. "It was something they could be proud of and that meant something to somebody else." 

Collin Edwardson, a Dahlonega, Georgia, resident pursuing a degree in history with teacher certification, wrote a book called "The Bug Circus." It evolved from an idea during his freshman year of high school while competing in a club called Odyssey of the Mind. A kid finds a spider, shrinks to the spider's size at night and discovers the circus the spider manages. He originally expected the course to be essay-centric rather than what it was. Edwardson particularly enjoyed the chance to read his book to children and to use his acting skills for that effort. 

"It was very wonderful," he said. "They seemed to all be paying attention."