Students at Severna Park Middle School are getting a taste of what it’s like to work in the world of journalism thanks to an online magazine called My-Say.
My-Say is an online publication written for middle school students across the state by middle school students. It offers tweens and teens the opportunity to explore, learn and write about issues that interest them.
“It’s an online forum for middle school students,” said Amy Lane a SPMS language arts teacher. “The magazine connects students who previously hadn’t had any communication on issues they care about.”
Lane said SPMS first got involved in the project last year when the magazine was called MY Voice. Then it was a print publication where every public middle school student in the state received a copy. This year, the magazine is only available online.
Between 15 and 20 SPMS students have contributed to the magazine, which has plans to publish four times a year.
Students who participate in the publication come up with their own story ideas, conduct interviews with sources, investigate their topic and write the story themselves.
So far SPMS students have written about electric cars, healthy vending machine options, music, and student hobbies. Once the magazine is published, middle school students all over the state are given the opportunity to read My-Say and learn what other students their age are interested in.
Lane and school librarian Susan Thomas helped get SPMS students involved.
“I was thrilled to get involved because I have so many students who really enjoy writing and were looking for real world experience,” Lane said.
The State of Maryland International Reading Association Council, the Maryland Library Association, principals, teachers and children’s author Jennifer Keats Curtis all combined to develop My-Say.
“It really is a unique opportunity,” Thomas said. “We are not aware of any other magazines written for middle school students. They have them for high school or elementary but middle school tends to falls through the cracks.”
Last year, after the magazine was published, Severna Park Middle held a "meet the authors" assembly where students who had written articles talked to their classmates about what they had learned and took questions.
“Students in the audience really treated the student authors as published writers,” Thomas said. “There was a lot of respect for what they did.”
Both Thomas and Lane said they hope to see My-Say continue for years to come. Lane said the opportunity to gain real world writing experience like the magazine offers in invaluable.
“Kids have so much to say at this age they are forming their opinions about the world and forming a voice as writers,” Lane said. “This keeps them interested in writing into high school and college and even as a career. We are excited to stay involved and give the kids this opportunity.”