To highlight the importance of literacy, an Evans Elementary School music teacher asked her pupils to sing songs.
About 25 of Phyllis Kitchens' music pupils, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, created song books in which they wrote a narrative explaining why they chose that song and what they like about it.
The song books encouraged pupils who volunteered to create the song books to write on their own outside of the classroom.
"I thought it would be fun for them to write a sentence they want to write," Kitchens said. "They don't always have to write one because a teacher says so."
The project also promoted family togetherness and called upon the participants to exercise some artistic skills.
"The point of the song books was not just a literacy effort, but to involve their families with them in that effort," Kitchens said. "A lot of times at school we ask, 'Is anybody helping them?' So many parents work now that they can't sit down with the kids."
Pupils were asked to pick a family song and then create cover art for the song book to fit the theme of the song.
"If their song was Row, Row, Row Your Boat, then they would decorate the front with something about the boat," Kitchens said.
Many of the song-book makers presented their work at a Parent-Teacher Organization meeting on Thursday.
To further promote family togetherness, Kitchens asked parents to perform their child's chosen song at the meeting. She even called each of the parents to ask them to perform.
"Some said, 'Well, I can't carry a tune Ms. Kitchens,'" she said. "I said, 'Well, you can stand with your children and let them see that bond between you and your family.'"
The 23-year educator, who got her start teaching adult literacy classes at Augusta Technical College before becoming a music teacher in Columbia County, said she hopes to make the song books an annual project at Evans Elementary.
"For next year, I'm thinking, since it is also tied to art, of changing it and let the kids write poetry," she said. "We're learning how to make improvised melodies. They can take that poem and make it into a song."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.