Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SMSTA plans literacy walk for Franklin Elementary

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Gracie Jane Peabler sounds out the word "white" with elementary students as they walk around page to page.
Photo by Kylie Harris

Student Missouri Teachers Association (SMSTA) coordinated a literacy walk service project at Franklin Elementary School’s cafeteria in Cape Girardeau from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, April 22. The walk provided students with reading materials they could bring home.

Special education major and SMSTA president Brady O’Neill said this is the first time SMSTA has put on the walk since COVID-19.

O’Neill said the literacy walk is one book spread throughout the cafeteria page by page.

“It's a book that we kind of bring to life, and the students will get to walk through and read the story. ... It will be in front of them with bigger pictures, so they can really go through the story as they walk through,” O’Neill said.

Early Elementary Education Major and SMSTA PR Exec Jordan Merli reads to students after completing the literacy walk. Students ate candy and listened to Merli's story telling.
Photo by Kylie Harris

Kindergarten and first grade students walked around in small groups sounding out words from each page of the book with SMSTA members.

Upon completion of the route, they were given the opportunity to pick out a book and a piece of candy, both donated by SMSTA members. Classes also got to participate in a read-aloud by SEMO students outside of the cafeteria while waiting for their classmates to finish the walk.

Gracie Jane Peabler, senior SMSTA member majoring in social studies education, read to students and supplied books and candy.

“They really look up to [young adults] and think it's super neat that they get to spend time with us. Not only that, but they get to bring a book home with them, and [for] some of them, it’s their first book they ever get to take home,” Peabler said.

SMSTA advisor and literacy professor Larry Bohannon attended the event.

SEMO SMSTA poses with their donated books before handing them out to the kindergarten and first grade students at Franklin Elementary. The wide variety of books were compiled from members of SMSTA.
Photo by Kylie Harris

Bohannon said SMSTA is under an umbrella of the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA), an organization that offers legal assistance, liability insurance and professional development for members.

“[It also helps with] teachers understanding how important a professional organization is to our career to keep us vibrant [and] keep us up-to-date on current legislation,” Bohannon said.

“[SMSTA offered] them more hands-on experience with students to really assure them that they want to go into this field, and also, it helps us give back to the community. …There's a lot of workshops, and you learn more about what you can see and feel in the classroom,” O’Neill said.

To learn more about SMSTA, visit their Instagram.