‘World Would Be More Awesome’ with more teachers like her

Photo by Istockphoto.com

Photo by Istockphoto.com

Lindsay Rodriguez engages students in reading through writing.

The third-grade teacher for Archer Elementary School’s magnet program helped her 18 students create their own book this year, writing and illustrating two pages about how they can make the world more awesome.

Rodriguez said she has more than 1,000 books in her classroom. Their book, “The World Would Be More Awesome If…,” is checked out more than any other.

Books sit in bins labeled by genre, such as “Favorite Authors,” “Science Fiction,” and “Favorite Series.” But the book her students made is unique; it doesn’t fit into a genre.

The cover, illustrated by Rodriguez, shows a picture of the earth surrounded by ways her students suggested to make the world a better place: no pollution, making others breakfast and loving each other.

Studentreasures, which produced the book for free, contacted her at the beginning of the school year, Rodriguez said.

She picked the theme of the book from a Youtube show she watches with her class, called “Kid President.”

The videos teach ideas on how to make the world a better place.

Before creating their own book, students read others, including “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” to see how authors organized their ideas, Rodriguez said. The class worked on the book until winter break, when she sent it off for print.

Teaching children writing is important because it goes hand-in-hand with reading, she said. “You can’t write without knowing how to read, and you can’t learn to read without knowing how to write,” she said.

Cory Tomlinson, the school’s principal, agreed. “Good readers make good writers and vice versa,” he said. His 9-year-old daughter, Anna, is a student in Rodriguez’s class. In Anna’s entry, she told readers to treat others as they want to be treated.

To do this, follow class rules, give to charity and give to the homeless, she wrote. Drawn next to her page is a picture of a girl handing a boy a present. “I think if everyone did that then there wouldn’t be any bullies,” she said.

While writing, she learned how much time goes into authoring a book. She rewrote her page three times, Tomlinson said. “It taught me that you can’t be perfect the first time, and you have to work to make it awesome,” she said.

On the last page of the book, Anna signed her name in green next to her 17 classmates under the title “Meet The Authors.” Rodriguez has ordered her kit for next year. She’ll continue this project every year, she said.

Since writing their book, her students have started reading harder books because they know how they’re laid out and are more familiar with words in them. “As their writing increases, they are understanding more,” she said. “They go hand-in-hand.”