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Creative Writing Program Helps Two Young Students’ Love of Storytelling

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Second-grader Allie Franco, front left, and first-grader Kaylee Vitkowski, with Mar-li Pitcher, back row, right, with Linda Surovich, the head of youth services at the Mount Kisco Library. Pitcher developed a creative writing program for young children that she offers in four other communities around the county.

The importance of having young children interested in reading and writing can never be overemphasized. It’s even better when they enjoy the activity.

Last month West Patent Elementary School first-grader Kaylee Vitkowski and Allie Franco, a second-grader at Mount Kisco Elementary School, were able to complete writing and illustrating a children’s book, “As Told by Allie and Kaylee: Adventures in Unicorn Land,” an anthology of five stories that the two girls teamed up to finish.

“We have the book in the (Mount Kisco) library,” Franco said. “We can show it to our friends. That’s really cool.”

The program that spawned the collaboration is called Take a Look, It’s in a Book, which meets on Mondays at the Mount Kisco Public Library and is led by Mar-li Pitcher. Pitcher developed a creative writing program called Writing Rainbow about five years ago that she also presents through the parks and recreation departments in Yonkers, Ossining and Pleasantville and at the John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak.

Pitcher came up with the idea in April 2017 because she always wanted to be a writer growing up. She created the Writing Rainbow program that employs techniques to help young children use their imagination and create original stories.

“This is a class I would have taken if it existed when I was their age,” Pitcher said.

The program runs for five weeks and each week they would write a different story.

Last month, the library held a special ceremony for the release of Kaylee’s and Allie’s work, so other children who visit can read and enjoy their stories.

Kaylee said she left a lot of the writing to Allie while she concentrated on the illustrations.

“I drew the posters because I like to draw,” Kaylee said. “I really didn’t have to write that much.”

Allie said she used her personal experiences to help her come up with the story ideas, such as when she and her family had taken a trip to the beach in New Jersey and about school.

Her father, Paul Franco, said when he learned of the program it seemed beneficial and appeared to be a fun way to reinforce the importance of reading and writing. An unexpected benefit was that the two girls, who likely would not have met because they are in different grades and in different schools, have become friends.

“Mount Kisco has a lot of really great programs, and when Ms. Mar-li came on and this program came on, Allie was ecstatic about trying it out, and then she forged a friendship with Kaylee and it was just wonderful, just a wonderful program,” he said.

Pitcher said she looks forward to what Kaylee and Allie can accomplish as they grow older as both girls are talented and have sharp minds.

“She’s extremely, extremely talented. I’ve very, very proud,” Pitcher said. “I’m very proud of both of them.”

Anyone from the public can view “As Told by Allie and Kaylee: Adventures in Unicorn Land” in the children’s room at the Mount Kisco Public Library.


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