Lady Lucy leaves local learners loving literature

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BENNINGTON — Students at Molly Stark Elementary School continued their year-long project with former Southern Vermont College president Karen Gross last week, when they learned about alliteration.

As the students learned, alliteration is the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

"We have using the book Lady Lucy's Quest for the year, using it to promote engaged learning and skill development in research and writing and even STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)," said Gross, who visited the school on Friday. She has been working with students since the beginning of the year on various activities centering around the book.

"Lady Lucy's Quest," Gross's first children's story, was published on March 29 by Shires Press. "It is the story of a feisty young girl who wants to become a knight in the Middle Ages," reads the book's synopsis, "Lucy confronts many hurdles in her quest, but ultimately finds success because she is able to solve problems in unique and unexpected ways. Through her actions and words, she demonstrates the importance of pursuing one's dreams and the power of the possible for children everywhere." The story is intended for children 4-8.

Gross worked with four groups of about 10 students each on Friday, which she said allowed for more personalized learning.

First, Gross had the students figure out what, exactly, alliteration is, and find example of it throughout the book. Then, they worked individually or in groups to come up with examples of their own. Their examples were themed around the holidays or the weather, a fitting topic considering the freezing temperatures outside.

"It was a frighteningly freezing Friday," wrote one student.

"It was horrendous, horrible windy weather," wrote another.

After working on alliteration, Gross had the students work on a research project on the original Lady Lucy — Lucy Christiana, the Lady Duff-Gordon, a British fashion designer who survived the sinking of the Titanic, and is, in the eyes of Gross and many others, a positive role model and an example of a woman who believed in following her dreams.

"I am seeing more and more students who are enjoying the activities," said Gross, "and seeing the power of the possible awakening in themselves."

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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