The Summit Writing Program lets students find their voice through a fusion of time-tested writing approaches from preschool to 12th grade. The program has resulted in students who have won competitions, published books, earned accolades from professional educators and given testimonials after their writing prowess was tested in college.
Writing begins with two-year-olds in the Montessori School, who trace sandpaper letters with two fingers of their dominant hand as they hear the sounds of the letters – aah, buh, cuh. Typically children progress from reading a single word to sentences in stories during what is called an "explosion into reading" at around age four, five or six. Because of the Montessori instruction, most Summit children will be reading very comfortably when they enter the first grade. Kindergarteners compile booklets of their activities in enrichment classes and write short stories in groups about the units they study – such as what it would be like to be an alien on Mars.
Lower School children learn drafting, revising, editing and publishing in Writing Workshop, where teachers individualize instruction to make sure each child is challenged to achieve personal potential. By the end of fourth grade, students are proficient in writing paragraphs, have a firm foundation in grammar and punctuation, are experienced writing in a variety of genres for a variety of purposes and audiences, are well-versed in using manuscript and cursive handwriting and are proficient in using technology in the writing process.
In Middle School, students learn to craft and prove a thesis. By the end of eighth grade, they have written six full-length essays and a history research paper. Many students in seventh and eighth grades have distinguished themselves in the Ohio State Power of the Pen Championship. Three groups of students have written and published books -- "Knights' Tales: The Summit Writers' Project," a collection of short stories; "Faded Secrets: The Summit Writers' Project," a novel tracing a family through the generations at the school; and "Hear My Story, Be My Voice," a year-long multi-media writing project where eighth graders gave a voice to 57 Greater Cincinnatians on the front lines of injustice.
Upper School English and History curricula prepare students for college-level writing and those students who take Honors-level and Advanced Placement classes get actual experience writing at that level. Part of what distinguishes The Summit's writing program is the volume of writing students undertake. Students write many papers which are graded carefully and given back so the students develop skills to continually improve. The volume of paper after paper makes students more comfortable and prepares them for college-level writing.