Tarleton State University pre-service teachers from the College of Education delivered 47 decorated book bags to Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday.

Each bag contained a children’s book and two learning activities the students created during Service Week at Tarleton.

“In each bag is the actual book that kind of matches the painting that’s on it and there are two activities: either comprehension or vocabulary, something that increases the student’s literacy skills,” said Chris Sloan, assistant professor in curriculum and instruction.

Sloan obtained a reading list from the librarian, listing books the children needed and he bought the books at the beginning of the semester.

“Our first grade teachers use a program called Rooted in Reading and each one of them needs a copy of the picture book that goes with the curriculum. There’s four per month and those can be a little bit pricey to purchase all at once so Dr. Sloan’s book buddies took this on as a service project for us and not only helped us by providing that resource for the classrooms, but also some great extension activities and this really colorful and engaging bag that they go in,” said Jennifer Salyards, Chamberlin Elementary School principal. “It’s a good partnership between pre-service teachers and our classrooms because they get to have experience with the content that we’re using but they’re also thinking very creatively about what types of lessons would go with really good children’s literature.”

Students were given a blank bag and were told to decorate it according to what book was going into the bag. Sloan said the decorating part took about six hours and each bag was made with high quality.

“It was really exciting seeing the kids’ reactions on their faces and how they were all excited about the 3D effects on the bags and they were all so excited about the books,” said junior interdisciplinary studies major, Debanhi Mendoza. “I heard one of them say, ‘Oh look it’s books,’ so it really meant a lot to be able to give back to the community that I am from and just to be able to promote literacy in their lives in a fun way that they’re excited about.”

Junior interdisciplinary studies major Alexa Kennedy said her favorite part about the experience was making the activities.

“They can take it home and play it with their parents and just learn something new from the book that they read and it was kind of awesome because I heard one of them recognize one of the book covers too so hopefully that was a part of their childhood and can bring out some education from it,” Kennedy said.

Sloan said his students are going to become teachers and he hopes they will take this project and utilize it in their own classrooms in the future.

“My area of expertise is children’s literacy and one of the things that I'm always looking for are ways to combat illiteracy, combat students who are struggling with reading,” he said. “If we can get them loving books and doing the reading now, it lasts. That was the goal of this. It’s a fun project and definitely worthwhile.”