Published on April 7, 2014 by Michele Haralson  

More than 100 third grade students and teachers from Trace Crossings Elementary School in Hoover, Ala., visited Samford University April 2 to participate in the annual John and Frances Carter Young Authors Conference. The event was hosted by teacher education students from Samford and Birmingham's Miles College.

The goal of the day was to increase diversity appreciation through children's literature. Students rotated through various literature stations, participating in book talks and follow-up activities including a reader's theatre, creative drawing and character analyses.

The day's activities closed with students hearing from Rick Shelton, a local author and storyteller, who spoke about a new book he is writing. He also spent some time giving advice to the children on how to enhance their writing.

Michele Haralson, event coordinator and director of the education curriculum materials and technology center, said the event is beneficial to all those who participate.

"Every year the main focus of the conference is for elementary students to enhance their appreciation for literature and writing; however, at the same time, our candidates are learning how to be educators," Haralson said. "This event also strengthens our continued partnerships with Miles College and Trace Crossings."

Teacher education candidates spend significant amounts of time in Trace Crossings classrooms as part of a K-12 school-university partnership. The partnership allows candidates to become immersed in the elementary school culture.

The conference is named for Drs. John and Frances Carter who taught for many years in the education school. Over the years, the Carters supported education programs by funding scholarships and sponsoring the conference. John Carter, who was on faculty for 31 years and served as dean six years of those years, died March 2.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.