School of Theatre and Dance
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Gregory Brown
Theatre Arts
Class of 1982
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Poem, 'The Friendship Shell,' that book is based on was written after an experience at an educators' conference at Atlantic Beach.

News-Argus Staff Writer

Gregg Brown has always been shy about meeting new people.

So when he attended an educator's conference at Atlantic Beach several years ago, he was admittedly nervous but compelled to step out of his comfort zone, he said.

"It turned out to be a very wise and beneficial decision," he said. "Within a day or two I was scooping up sea creatures with new friends, laughing about our common experiences with our students ... by the end of the week I felt a part of the whole."

It prompted him to write a poem — "The Friendship Shell" — about a boy who throws a randomly chosen shell into his pail. Only later does his teacher discover the shell is actually a very rare one, prompting his classmates to sit up and take note.

Since writing the poem nearly 10 years ago, the reading specialist at North Drive Elementary School has had many opportunities to share it with his students, as well as parent and teacher groups.

And it was recently turned into a book that will be used not only in classrooms but at national trade shows and events.

This is actually Brown's sixth book since 2007. The previous ones have been scripts used by elementary students to enhance their reading skills in elementary schools across the U.S., and by parents and teachers around the world.

"The Friendship Shell" was chosen to be part of a series called "Kaleidoscope Collection," leveled books for different grades, published by Hameray Publishing Group.

It afforded him the opportunity to work with Joy Cowley, author of the "Miss Wishy-Washy" series, who edited his book.

"She's such a big name in children's literature," he said. "That just makes me feel that I have grown as an author, to be asked to work with her. She is one of the ones that chose this book. Fifty authors were chosen in this series."

This is Brown's first narrative book and is geared toward the second-grade reader.

In addition to the book's recent release and wrapping up another school year, Brown is on a team of educators working on the English/language arts pacing guide for the new common core standards for Wayne County. He has also started a manuscript for his next publication, "Santa All Year," written for first graders.

All of his books hold special meaning, he said, but "The Friendship Shell" is perhaps the most personal.

"Every book I have written has elements of me in it and elements of my family and my students, but this one is so significant because in my 22 years of teaching, I see children who are like I was — that loner child who couldn't seem to break through to be in the pack, part of everything," he said. "When I wrote this poem back in 2003, I was surrounded by adults that I didn't know and developed friendships.

"That's how I was able to get that feeling down on paper. I thought, 'Man, my students could really benefit from this story.' It's important because it lets children know that it's OK to be different, but you need to reach out to others."

All three of the educational publishing companies he has worked with sell his books online and at career fairs and conferences.

He also has his own website so parents can access resources to work with their child.


Hello ECU!  

I received this good news yesterday. I'm shocked, but happy. The chances were slim to none that I would actually land this gig. It's a big deal for me professionally, but what was I thinking? Now, I've got to "cowboy up" and ride!   

Again, I have to thank the ECU Dept. of Theater and Dance for paving the way for all these opportunities I'm getting in my 50's. Is 50 really the new 30?  In my case, I think it's the new 19. (See the promotional video clip link below.)  

<<Dear Gregory,   Congratulations on having your proposed session, WHEN PINK FLAMINGOS FEEL BLUE - Using Choral Readers Theater To Promote Fluency & Self-esteem, selected for the 2012 National Title I Conference: Soaring to Excellence. An overwhelming number of excellent proposals were received and only a small percentage were selected for inclusion in this year's conference.

The Conference will be held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington-Saturday, January 21 through Tuesday, January 24, 2012.
  During the next week, we will be assigning the dates and times for each presentation. Once that is completed, a contract will be sent to you. 

Congratulations again and please don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or be of further assistance.

Best regards,  

Amy Sarisky
Content Director

National Title I Association>>

This is the short film I made that, I believe, helped me make the final cut with the proposal judges. I would love for my friends to watch it. Then you'll see why being chosen to present my work on a national level means so much to me. Note: There is no sound for a reason...I wanted people to read these words in silence. That's a powerful way to get one's point across and touches folks in a deeper way than shouting at them.


Gregory H. Brown, a veteran Wayne County teacher of 17 years and ECU graduate, has just had his first children's script published by Benchmark Education of New York. The play, Johnny Appleseed - An American Legend, is part of the company's Readers Theater series which promotes fluency and vocabulary growth. These educational materials are used by elementary schools all over the United States.

Brown currently teaches Reading Recovery, Guided Reading and Readers Theater at North Drive Elementary School in Goldsboro, NC. His biography was included in the most recent national issue of Who's Who Among American Teachers

Hello from California!

This is a photo from the Reading Festival that I was a part of this weekend (Sept 12th-13th 2009) in Mission Viejo, California. I got to speak with Henry Winkler and he was gracious enough to autograph one of the children's books he wrote and also take a copy of one my children's scripts.

You might say this was a pretty big event for a country boy like me!