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LISD STEM Academy at Valley Ridge Elementary Receives the Gift of Literature

Students from Lewisville High School create custom books for kindergarteners.

’Tis the season for giving and there’s no better way to celebrate than giving the gift of literacy. Through a recent project for Lewisville High School (LHS) students, kindergarteners at the LISD STEM Academy at Valley Ridge Elementary recently received customized books to highlight their individuality. 

young student smiles at older student

As part of their unit on school-aged children, LHS Child Development classes discussed the importance of reading and promoting literacy at a young age. To put these ideas into action, each high school student wrote, illustrated and constructed a children’s book for an assigned kindergarten “buddy.” 

Group of high school students read to young students

“I started having my Child Development classes create children’s books about three years ago, but this is the first time we have actually created a book to give to someone specific,” Family and Consumer Science teacher Heather Fox said. “I was inspired by Kim Sullivan at LHS-Killough who did a similar project with the Pre-K program at McAuliffe Elementary.” 

High school student reads to young student

Being assigned a kindergartener and knowing their characteristics, habits and favorites helped the older students create books with even more meaning. 

“Having a buddy who is depending on them and excited to get a book from them has really given my students motivation,” Fox said. “It has created a really positive classroom environment for the past two weeks while they have been working on the books.”

Two high school students smile with kindergarten student

Once the unique pieces of literature were created, it was time for a special delivery. The LHS students traveled on buses to visit their new buddies, read aloud their special stories and gift the books to each child. 

High school student and kindergartener smile at one another

“The book-making process was slow at first, but it all paid off once we actually got to see the kids,” LHS Senior Christian Reach said. “Seeing them happy when we read to them and gave them the books made me feel happy in what I accomplished.”

Two students smile with a book

While the elementary students received the physical gift of a book, they also got a first-hand view of what it’s like to grow up from those who were in their same shoes not too long ago. 

“At Valley Ridge, one of the habits we teach our students is to ‘begin with the end in mind,’” Valley Ridge Principal Rachel Garret said. “As a five or six-year-old kindergartener, thinking about their end in mind can be difficult. How can you prepare for something you don’t even know about yet? This collaborative experience helps our youngest learners start to see where their future will lead them, one step at a time.”

High school student and kindergartener smile with book

For the high school students too, this experience isn’t one that will be forgotten anytime soon. 

High school student reads book to younger student

“Sometimes high school students see interacting with elementary students as something they would never want to do, but I hope that this experience has changed that for some of my students,” Fox said. “We spend the entire class talking about children and how they develop and reach milestones. I think this project serves as a great capstone for this course for students to use that knowledge when interacting with a child.”

HIgh school student reads book to kindergartner

Garrett added, “What a cool way for students, young and old, to participate in a project that makes them all future-ready.”

The LISD STEM Academy at Valley Ridge Elementary in Lewisville, Texas is one of three Nationally Certified STEM academies in the Lewisville Independent School District. Follow Valley Ridge on Facebook and Twitter to see more student experiences throughout the school year. Learn more about STEM education in Lewisville ISD or visit Best Schools in Texas for more information about joining the Lewisville ISD family.