Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SMSTA’s annual literacy walk came to Alma Schaefer Elementary School this year

Sunday, April 16, 2023
Special education major and SMSTA president Brady O’Neill reads a book to Alma Schrader Elementary School kindergarten students. O'Neill said he enjoys providing students with their very own books to read at home.
Photo by Kate Haussman

Student Missouri Teachers Association (SMSTA) organized a literacy walk service project at Alma Schrader Elementary School’s gymnasium in Cape Girardeau from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Friday, April 14. SMSTA provided an environment of learning to four kindergarten classes by walking them through a life-sized storybook.

Special education major and SMSTA president Brady O’Neill said each year SMSTA picks a new elementary school in Cape Girardeau to visit and hold a literacy walk at.

“It is a walk to where the students will come in and they will walk station to station and they will be walked through a book; we really try to bring the book to life,” O’Neill said.

SEMO SMSTA poses for a picture with one of the storybook posters for the literacy walk. SMSTA is a part of Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA), an organization that helps its members provide a stable learning community for Missouri's children.
Photo by Kate Haussman

Kindergarten students were led through the elementary school’s gym to each page of the storybook. They took turns sounding out each word with the help of STSMA members.

Junior early childhood education major Britney Renner said she loves connecting with the students during the literacy walk.

“At first they seem pretty intimidated but as you work with them, [the elementary students,] you can see them get more comfortable with you and start showing their joy to learn,” Renner said.

At the end of the walk, the elementary students were allowed to pick a book and a couple pieces of candy to enjoy while they waited for their classmates to finish up.

Senior early childhood education majors Erin King (right) and Bridgette Berner (left) hand out candy and books to students after completing the literacy walk. King is the public relations manager for SMSTA and Berner is the vice president.
Photo by Kate Haussman

O’Neil also sat down to read a story to a group of students that were finished.

SMSTA advisor and literacy professor Larry Bohannon said he is proud of the SMSTA members.

Bohannon said watching the SMSTA members work with the students proves to him the work he does in the classroom is paying off. He said he enjoys listening to the teaching moments his students have with the elementary students.

For more about SMSTA, read the Arrow’s article from last year.