Laura Pierson, first-grade teacher exclaims, “I’m always on a mission to get my students excited about writing. When I came across Studentreasures, a publishing company, it seemed like a great idea for students to go through the writing process and actually become published authors. Colleen Bruner, Hannah and I all agreed this could be a fun project and brained-stormed different ideas and came up with a Buddy Book.”
“The goal of the Buddy Book is to inspire kids to embrace the written word and have fun writing outside of the more structured writing guidelines used in the classroom.” Mrs Pierson continues, “For a child to see their writing in a real published book is pretty exciting.” In creating the Buddy Book, the first-graders were encouraged to write a letter to their fifth-grade buddy. Each buddy has four pages: two writing, one photo, and one drawing.In the letter, they could express their feelings toward their buddy or write about some of the fun activities they shared. The first-graders hand wrote their letters and then drew a picture of themselves with their buddy. The fifth-graders, under the direction of Jessica Martin, took some creative liberties and wrote either a short story that included their buddy, a letter, or a poem.
This meaningful first and fifth-grade project is another way to take the already successful mentoring program to a deeper level. In the buddy program, fifth-grade students adopt a first-grader for the school year. Fifth-graders take great pride in their position as role models, and as they interact with their buddies. Following Titus 2:7, “You should be an example for them in every way by the good things you do,” the fifth graders demonstrate good work habits, respect, responsibility, and kindness. Twice a month, the fifth graders and their first-grade buddies get together in a classroom setting to read, work on curriculum-related activities, art projects or just to play together. Now, they have published a book together.
“You never know how that [book] may impact their aspirations of being a writer in the future,” Mrs. Pierson smiles, “When reading the stories and sincerity and sweetness in these students words to each other, you can really see Jesus’ hearts in their lives and the admiration and Christ-like love they have for each other. It’s very special.”