Grade-school Kids Love to Publish Their Stories


EL PASO, Texas — Fourth grade student, Alyssa Azcarate, beamed with enthusiasm as she read her first published book, The Gremlim, aloud to her mother.

“I began to feed them. Then, immediately, I stopped since I remembered they shouldn’t be eating human food! It was too late, the gremlins became evil creatures with red eyes, puffy fur and sharp fangs. Jenny and I thought about what to do. That night, I thought about locking them up in a darkened hallway that led to my garage.”

While some elementary students might struggle with the process of writing short stories or creative writing pieces, the students at Chester Jordan Elementary School have become quite comfortable with the writing process and the concept of publishing their work.

In fact, it is a process that has led students, like 5th grader Corey Birch, author of Hard Work to become published authors. “This is the best book I have written so far and I can’t wait to write a lot more,” he said.

Writing a story about his experience of scoring the winning touchdown for his city-league football team, Corey explained that he chose a subject to write about that was the most exciting and memorable to him.

The task for the 3rd through 5th grade students at Chester Jordan included writing and illustrating their own books, each consisting of 8-12 pages along with a dedication page, title page and a cover design to be published by Student Treasures Publishing.

Esther Rodriguez, the head librarian facilitated the project. She had heard about the idea from the publishing company and decided it could be an educational and creative approach to motivate students to write.

Each class was given a specific theme to anchor their stories. The students were told to write mystery stories, comedies, tales of adventure, family memory pieces, and even ghost stories. “I’d like to write more books like chapter books and longer adventure books,” explained 5th grader, Michael Telck.

Book cover of Mrs. Barrozo's class at Jordan Elementary. (Heather Calvillo/

Book cover of Mrs. Barrozo's class at Jordan Elementary. (Heather Calvillo/

“The students went through the entire process of writing, illustrating and even editing their work from beginning to end,” said Rodriguez. Students in 1st and 2nd grade created a classroom book in which each student was responsible for creating one written and illustrated page to be included in the final project.

On Feb. 18, the elementary school hosted a special family night publishing party where students and their families were given the opportunity to read their books to their parents and showcase their work for their peers and teachers to appreciate.

Families and teachers alike marveled at the final projects created by the students and believed, as Rodriguez described that “This got the students into writing and really lit a fire.”

The fire of eagerness and excitement to write and create stories still burns in the minds of the Chester Jordan Elementary students. Fifth grade student, Exodis Ward added, “I really want to be a teacher, but I could do writing as a side job.”

Student Treasures Publishing, which prides itself on motivating students to learn to read and write through innovative student publishing opportunities, published each book for the students for free.  To date, Student Treasures Publishing has produced some 3 million free books since the company’s founding in 1994.

The Chester Jordan Elementary students enjoyed their first published books — hard-bound books with glossy pages and copyright approval. Students received a complimentary copy of their books and were offered additional copies for $10 each. “My favorite thing [about the writing process] was drawing the pictures,” said 5th grader, Alexandria Santillana.

Rodriguez added, “It turned out better than I ever imagined and I hope other schools will do it too.”

Complementing her classmate Alyssa, 4th grader Vanae Gonzalez also read an excerpt from her book titled The Little Girl Ghost:

“Once there was a family that just moved into an old, white two story house on December 7th, 1952. On the first night they stayed there, one of the brothers, Derek was cleaning and old mirror and he thought he saw something in the mirror behind him. He yelled out and ran as fast as he could into another room. His parents saw him and asked what was wrong. He couldn’t even breathe when he was trying to tell them what he saw. Then his mom told him that he has imagined seeing something and that everything was going to be just fine.”

One thought on “Grade-school Kids Love to Publish Their Stories

  1. What a compelling story about a great way for teachers to stimulate young students to love reading and writing. I like the way you captured the students on the video. They really came alive. Kudos. Zita

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