EAST COUNTY — A worksheet and pencil in hand, Keegan Skinner wasted no time deciding where she would go if she had a magical bicycle that could transport her anywhere.
“How do you spell chocolate?” the first-grade student at Bashaw Elementary School asked.
Then, “How do you spell factory?”
As part of their senior exit project, “Winnie the Pooh and Shakespeare, Too,” students from Lakewood Ranch High School headed to Bashaw Friday, March 22, armed with self-created children’s books and lesson plans. Inside kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, students read their stories to the children, before following up with teaching three activities or games — at least one of which focused on writing.
Keegan had wiggled with excitement as Lakewood seniors Victor Lema and Davis Moeckel read their story, “David’s Magical Bicycle Adventure.”
“Reading to the kids and seeing them smile is my favorite part (of this project),” Moeckel said, noting he began working on the project in mid-January.
Eighteen-year-old Jordan Bailey said she enjoyed working with the children, but was nervous when she arrived. Although she works at a daycare and babysits regularly, she still was unsure how the children would respond to her story.
“It was very hard; you have to think about what little kids would like,” Bailey said. “You have to teach the kids. But, it was good. The kids were very energetic.”
Lakewood Ranch senior English teacher Candice DeLazzer said, as part of the project, students had to write research papers on literacy, research children’s literature to understand how to incorporate lessons into stories and make sure their stories incorporated the district’s age-appropriate curriculum.
“The ultimate goal for the seniors is to have them read to their children when they become parents after graduation,” DeLazzer said.
Bashaw Elementary School teacher Carolyn Thompson said the Lakewood Ranch seniors’ visit shows her first- and second-grade students how important reading and writing is at any age.
“They love it,” she said of her students. “It’s really going to encourage them with their writing. They’ve being trying to get a piece all the way to published, so it’s great for them to see (the high school students) are writers also.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.