Contributed photo by Flint Chaney / Students from Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga's "Literacy Up! The Write Way" program sign copies of their books for attendees at their book-signing held recently at the Highland Park clubhouse.

Kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga recently got a taste of what it feels like to be a published author, including a book-signing attended by 80-100 of their fans.

"We wanted to highlight and celebrate how big a deal it is to write a book," said Bria Sibley, academic success and outreach program director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga. "It shows learning doesn't have to be confined to the classroom."

This summer, the club's Literacy Up! The Write Way program had 13 fifth- through eighth-grade participants, who wrote their own story using a book of illustrations they chose from a selection offered by the company Write Brain Books.

Several students chose the same book of illustrations, and it was interesting to see the completely different stories they came up with, Sibley said.

The students received one hardcover copy and five softcover copies of their book, and each student donated two of their copies to the Ronald McDonald House of Chattanooga.

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Contributed photo by Flint Chaney / Participants in Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga's "Literacy Up! The Write Way" program gather at the summer program's recent book-signing at the Highland Park clubhouse. From left are Dathiuna Jackson, Ta'Rhiya Hayden, Karmalena Island, Dynasty Lovelady, Perisa Drew, My'Liyah Brown, Christian McKibbens, Kori Atkins, Demetrez Whitlock, Nevaeh Osborne and Al'Nya Boaz. Not pictured is Haniyah Cannon.

While the Boys & Girls Clubs have done the program in the past, this is the first time they've held a signing event.

"We wanted them to get the full effect of being an author," said Sibley. "With the kids we serve, enough of them don't get to see how the things they're doing apply to real life.

"This shows that if they focus in school, they can write a book and make money off it, so it shows them entrepreneurial skills as well."

Another round of the program, which is currently funded by Unum, begins in January.

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