Encouraging literacy: Education students donate more than 350 books to local grade school

For the fifth year in a row, the Washington University in St. Louis members of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society in education, led a service project that focuses on literacy and benefits local grade-schoolers.

Pre-K through sixth-grade students and their teachers at Cool Valley Elementary School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District were the lucky recipients of more than 350 books donated by KDP members.

The eleven KDP members, both undergraduate and graduate students in WUSTL’s Department of Education in Arts & Sciences, held fundraisers and wrote successful grants to the Women’s Society of Washington University and the education department to help pay for the books, which they delivered to the school April 12.

Each Cool Valley student received a book, which they selected in advance, along with a personalized bookmark. Each of the school’s 18 teachers received a basket of five books for their classrooms.

“This project is such a wonderful opportunity to boost literacy in the homes of our students,” said Suzette Simms, Cool Valley principal. “For the Washington University students to choose our school for this service project and to choose books that our students are interested in reading is awesome.”

Allison Laird, an Arts & Sciences junior majoring in education and president of KDP, reads “Leah’s Pony” to third-graders at Cool Valley Elementary. In addition to delivering books to the school, the WUSTL education students also delivered a lesson as part of their service project, titled “On the Move: Encouraging Literacy.”

Eileen Lai, a senior majoring in education, watches as kindergartners balance bean bags on their heads as part of Lai’s lesson on the timeless classic “Caps for Sale” about a cap salesman who wears his entire stock of caps on his head.

Laird receives appreciative hugs from third-graders at Cool Valley Elementary School after she and her fellow KDP honor society members hand-delivered books to the students. WUSTL’s KDP chapter members have purchased and donated close to 2,000 books to area school children in the past five years.
(Credit: all photos by Sid Hastings)