fLearn-Read-Laugh-Write-Dream and Create Program With 4 St. Louis Authors


Learn-Read-Laugh-Write-Dream and Create Program With 4 St. Louis Authors

While a classroom of 4th grade boys awaited their new teacher, Principal Kathy Matthews at Woerner Elementary collaborated with Dr. Rebecca Rogers of the University of Missouri-St. Louis to find opportunities to enrich the boys’ literacy education.


“What can we do to make sure these boys find joy in reading?” Principal Matthews asked Dr. Rogers. From that question, they worked together with St. Louis children’s authors to design a four-week experience called “Choose the Books in your Bookshelf.” As part of this initiative, the 4th grade boys at Woerner Elementary will learn, read, laugh, dream, and create with four different children’s authors over the course of four week. “It is of utmost importance for students to see themselves in the books they read and find joy in schools,” Rogers said. Principal Matthews asked the boys to identify the authors they wanted to meet and the books they wanted to read. The boys reviewed book lists from the St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature and EyeSeeMe Books and identified the authors they wanted to learn alongside.


Starting in November 2022, the students will be visited by children’s authors: Rebecca Clark, Jermecia Starks, Julius B. Anthony, and Jasmine Paul. Each week bagan with a visit from the author, followed by students’ inquiry, reading, and writing that extends the content of the author's visit. At the end of the week, they will reconvene with the author to share responses, new learning, and next steps. “This will be a time to share, imagine, and see themselves as readers, dreamers, and creators,” said Principal Kathy Matthews. By the end of the four weeks, students will have a dozen books in their personal bookshelves: books where they can see themselves and imagine new possibilities.


This initiative is a collaboration of St. Louis Public Schools and the E. Des Lee Tutorial Endowment at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.


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