TURN THE PAGE LITERACY INITIATIVE

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Turn the Page Literacy Initiative brings creative writing classes and reading discussion groups into the Hamilton County and the Silverdale Detention Facilities. In a system that concentrates on punishment rather than rehabilitation, educational programs such as this have been shown to help men and woman as they reenter society.

Turn the Page began in January of 2015 with one reading group of fifteen participants at the Bradley County Jail. In the years that have followed, this program has served hundreds of incarcerated men and women, offering respite from the day-to-day struggle of serving time and creating opportunities for growth and transformation through literacy.

MISSION STATEMENT

Crafted by Turn the Page participants.

In these groups, we read, write, talk, and listen. We speak, but we don’t interrupt. We offer comfort but not judgment. We learn about reading and comprehension strategies, authors’ pasts, literary movements, ways in which history interacts with literature, and common literary techniques to prepare us for complicated reasoning and advanced learning in future endeavors.

 

We take the time to think about the things we have done in our lives and reflect on the things we are going to do in the future, but we realize that it is not up to us to evaluate each other’s pasts or put others down. We come to know how others in our group feel and think, and by doing that, we’re able to understand each other better.

 

By encountering diverse opinions of the literature as a group, we are able to make better sense of the reading. We welcome women–regardless of their alleged charges–from any national, ethnic, cultural, religious or spiritual background so that we can engage in the fullest possible understanding of the world in which we live.

 

We exercise our minds by discussing various aspects of life on the outside and life on the inside and relate our experiences to the things we read. We discuss things that people in the free world should know about jail and prison, and we use what we read to make ourselves more compassionate, more thoughtful, and more prepared for the challenges of the world, and in doing so, we become closer as a group.

BECOME INVOLVED

Turn the Page is a rapidly growing program in the Hamilton County area and has potential to expand into new facilities as we train new facilitators. We are seeking dedicated, passionate individuals to become Turn the Page Facilitators. Facilitators undergo a multi-faceted training process before they can lead sessions at the facility. 

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Experience teaching adults and/or experience working with incarcerated learners

  • Background in English, social work, psychology, etc

  • Masters or Ph.D. preferred (but not necessarily required)

 

TRAINING PROCESS:

  • New Facilitator Training with Turn the Page

  • Volunteer Training at Hamilton County Jail or Silverdale Correctional Facility

  • Debriefing Session

For further information, please contact Victoria Bryan (victoria.m.bryan@gmail.com)

 

FACILITATORS

Dr. Victoria Bryan

Lead Facilitator

Victoria Bryan is an assistant professor of English at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, TN. She has been teaching in jails and prisons since 2013, and she believes this kind of instruction to be the most necessary, challenging, and rewarding work she does. Her book, A Wall Rise Up: Prestige Television in the Age of Mass Incarceration, is under contract with Routledge Press.

Andréana Lefton

Facilitator

Andréana Lefton is a writer, traveler, and teaching artist. She has lived across the U.S., and in the U.K, Europe and Middle East, meeting amazing people and working toward human connection, education, and creativity. She designs and facilitates workshops that blend reflective practices, poetry and the quest for justice. She began teaching with Turn the Page in 2018 and is excited to help the program grow and reach new students.

Kris Whorton

Facilitator

Kris Whorton is an English Lecturer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A desire to be useful in her community brought her to Hamilton County Jail where she has been teaching inmates Creative Writing since 2018. 

Haven Wright

Facilitator

Haven Wright is a Psychology Major finishing up her final semester at Cleveland State Community College. After CSCC, she will be pursuing a Masters in Art Therapy. She first learned about Turn the Page through Dr. Bryan’s service learning Composition II class. Over the course of that semester she lead a book drive to encourage donations from the community for Bradley County Jail’s library. After spending a semester studying, helping, and writing to incarcerated individuals she discovered an appreciation and the necessity for this type of work. She is currently designing an art program, with Dr. Bryan, to run alongside Turn the Page. Her goal is to see if art can provide an outlet for those in a high stress environment.

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SPONSORS & PARTNERS

Partly funded by the
Humanities of Tennessee

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SOUTHERN LIT ALLIANCE

The Arts Building

301 East 11th Street

Suite 301

Chattanooga, TN 37403

 

(423) 267-1218

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