WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Cayce Elementary not only is growing readers but published authors.
In an effort to expand classroom libraries with books from a diverse range of viewpoints and interests, the Lexington Two school has launched “Books for Cayce Kids by Cayce Kids,” an initiative to professionally publish books written by students. The goal is to print enough of each book so that each of the school’s roughly 35 classrooms can have a copy to read and enjoy.
The first published book, which came out earlier this month, was written by fifth-grader Daniel Allen. Daniel Versus the Dinosaurs is a story about dinosaurs coming back to earth, and Daniel and his friends must learn to navigate this strange new world. Daniel wrote the book as part of his fictional writing unit in fifth-grade teacher Nina Sullivan’s class, while art class students drew illustrations for the book.
“At Cayce, we hope that students can see that success is an option for anyone,” Sullivan said. “You may start out with a small idea but as you put forth the effort, determination, and knowledge, you have the power to create something amazing. When students like Daniel see that their hard work can pay off, it ignites a flame in them to continue down that path of growth. As readers and writers, students strive to showcase their abilities and through publishing their work, they open the window into the creativity they possess.”
At least two more books are in the works to be published this school year, according to Cayce Elementary Principal Andrew Drozdak, who hopes to continue the program next year and possibly expand it to other grade levels. Book signings and readings also are planned for the published student authors.
The initiative has created a lot of excitement at school, Drozdak said.
“A big part of getting students interested in reading is by giving them books they can relate to when they read it. This can be finding topics they are interested in or with characters they can relate to,” said Drozdak. “By having books written by students who are at Cayce, it is representative of students who would be reading them. It also gets students excited about writing fictional stories. They want their stories to be the next story that is published.”