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Southwestern 8th-Graders Read, Give Books to Starke Elementary Students

On Monday, May 15, 35 Creative Writing students from Southwestern Middle presented hardcover, published books to Kindergarten and 1st-grade students at Starke Elementary. The students at Southwestern worked for most of the school year writing and illustrating their own children's books, and each book was tailored and dedicated to a specific elementary school student.
"I wanted my students to realize the power of words," said Kaitlin Peterson, creative writing teacher at Southwestern Middle. "And, what better way than to have the words mean more than me just grading [them]; it was actually going back to readers.
"They did a really good job. It was a difficult task, but they rose to the challenge. I am really proud of them." 
In the Starke media center, the 8th-grade authors paired up with their dedicated younger peer to read and gift the brand-new, personally dedicated book. Some of these students have never had a children's book of their own before, and it was extremely important to the students that they write and gift them something that could potentially shape their lives as readers forever.
"This was a surprise for our students," said Amy Cervantes, instructional coach at Starke Elementary. "It was very exciting for them to hear from younger students, even if older than them, who are putting into practice what they are learning with writing."
Thanks to fundraising and the help of a FUTURES Foundation grant, Southwestern was able to professionally publish books, which are available to purchase online.

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