VANCOUVER — The Literacy Intervention Program has granted Michael Dunn, Washington State University Vancouver assistant professor of education, $10,000 to repeat his Thirsty Thinkers summer writing program for students entering second to eighth grades.

Dunn successfully piloted the program last summer as part of the At Home At School program at Sunset Elementary School in the Evergreen district, directed by WSU Vancouver associate professor Susan Finley.

“Twelve to 15 students will be using laptops purchased with the grant money,” Dunn said. “Using software called Sketch-to-Text, we use an arts-based integrated curriculum to teach story telling. The students create paintings, drawings or clay models of a story component, then they write the story.”

In the program, students read short stories, critically analyze them, and create their own stories on paper or on a computer.

Dunn said that writing skills are among the highest needs in Washington schools, based on Washington Assessment of Student Learning research, which included the Evergreen school district. “This is also reflective of national trends,” he said.

Dunn researches struggling readers and writers — students who are often identified with a learning disability. For more information about Dunn’s research, visit

The At Home At School program runs mornings July 9 to Aug. 3, dismissing after lunch. Registration packets are available at Sunset Elementary, 9001 NE 95th St, Vancouver, 360-604-9600.