TUPELO • Kindergarten teacher Daytra Riley invited her students and their parents to her classroom for a special, end-of-semester event celebrating an unusual class accomplishment.

“Why are we here?” Riley asked her 22 students.

“To celebrate!” the students said in unison.

The group of young authors and illustrators celebrated their storybook being published with a party at Carver Elementary Tuesday morning.

The excited students in Riley’s class were treated to a snack break, a pair of sunglasses provided by the parents with a sticker that read, “you have a bright future” and specially made young authors and illustrators awards to take home.

Riley said the book contained many different topics with corresponding artwork as opposed to one book with only one topic.

“We originally wanted to write about one topic, but when we started brainstorming, their ideas were all so good that I told them I wanted them to think about their topic and write a story about whatever they wanted,” Riley said.

The students wrote about their friends, vacations they went on, things they like to do, their families and more.

“I couldn’t let those ideas go by because they were so passionate about it, and I knew that they would be very creative in their writing,” Riley said.

“When they become inspired about writing, then they become inspired about reading and getting knowledge from other places.”

Kindergartener Sadie Markel wrote about a favorite memory: a trip to a zoo in New Orleans.

“My story was about when I got to go the zoo in New Orleans with my family; it was about a tiger, and it was very hot, and it was making sure it was cool and then it laid in the water,” Markel said.

The class also improved on their STAR test from the fall to the spring semester. Riley said the event was held to celebrate the achievements of one extraordinary class.

Riley reached out to Studentreasures Publishing, a free service for teachers to help their students create a storybook in class using the book publishing kits.

Riley went over the process with the students to ensure they understood how writing a book works: brainstorming, picking a topic they are interested in, writing a draft, revising and drawing pictures.

And finally, Ms. Riley had one final question for her former class in the publishing party presentation.

“What do good writers do?” she asked.

“They think about things, and they don’t give up!” the class said.

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