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Custom books create classroom heroes

November 27, 2013

in Student

Sacred Heart junior Mariela Frausto reads her self-published story 'Matalyn Saves the Day' to Matalyn Elwood, the kindergartner who was the inspiration behind the book.

–Submitted by Ari Jacks, Sacred Heart High School senior

Kay Keele’s kindergarten class at Sacred Heart School was recently given a surprise. High school English teacher, Susie Thompson, and her creative writing class had spent weeks preparing personalized stories starring each student in Keel’s class.

The teachers were excited to connect the two classes. Keel was looking for role models for her students and Thompson wanted to bring something new to the creative writing curriculum.

Before writing their stories, Thompson and her students visited and interviewed the younger children. They used that information to personalize their stories. The only direction Thompson gave her students was to use the child’s name in the title and make them the hero in the story.

Using Bookemon, an online book-making site, Thompson’s students were able to design, write and publish their own books. Before printing, some of the high school students were nervous.

Keyiare Marshall, junior, and Chole Gentile read 'Princess Chole,' the book Marshall authored that featured Gentile as the hero in the fairytale.

“I wasn’t sure if my child would like his book, but to see the excitement on his face when I gave him the book made it worth it,” said SH senior Ari Jacks.

“When Mrs. Thompson gave the assignment, I wasn’t sure I could do it,” said Keyaire Marshall, freshman. “But when it was finished, I felt really accomplished.”

Once published and printed, each high school student handed their kindergarten buddy a gift-wrapped book to open, then took some time to read the story together.

“The kids were so excited not only to receive the books as gifts, but to have the gift of an older friend at their school,” said Thompson. “ Their smiles were priceless … all of the students.” –Submitted photos.

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