LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Inside Tiffany Boudreaux’s classroom, you won’t find bookshelves lined with the typical required readings of a 6th grade student; a grant she received from Lufkin ISD has given her the opportunity to offer her students books just as diverse as they are.
Last year, Boudreaux was one of the dozens of teachers across 10 campuses named as a recipient of LISD’s Prize Patrol grants. The grant serves as a bridge for teacher to invest in innovative learning projects that cannot be funded through the standard school district budget.
“I received a grant to fund a book club called ‘Project Lit’, and I found it by reading a book by this author called “Ghost" by Jason Reynolds," said Boudreaux, 6th grade English and Language Arts teacher. “I found this project book club started by a teacher from Nashville, who started Project Lit book club, and it’s to bring diverse books to students of diversity, so they can see themselves within books.”
Boudreaux said the idea stood out to her from personal experience: she said she realizes as she taught students through reading that many of them didn’t see themselves in main characters. Boudreaux said she wanted to bring stories to her students that they could relate to in order to develop a love of reading.
“I tell my students all the time -- we have silent reading in our classrooms -- I tell them that it’s very important that if they start reading a book and they’re not into it, they need to put the book down," Boudreaux explained. “We’re all different personalities, we all have different book-likes.”
Project Lit has already made an impact on Boudreaux’s class; students who she identified as non-readers embraced the book club just as much as avid readers did.
“I’m kind of different because I’ve always been a reader, I’ve always kind of been reading extra books and kind of been into reading,” said student Callie Lawrence. “But I still joined the book club and I still find that these books are still wowing me, still blowing me away, and I just love them.”
This year, Boudreaux was able to purchase enough copies for 4 different books for her students; next year, she hopes it grows to one book per month of the school year. Project Lit also focuses on community projects, so kids not only develop a love of reading, but a love of their community.“
"I would love for families to come to our meetings -- little brothers and sisters, big brothers and sisters, moms and dads -- to feel comfortable in our meetings, and for them to go home and talk about their books with their families,” said Boudreaux.
“I think it’s easier for me to concentrate on the books, and I feel like I try to get more in-depth in the books, because before I was just trying to read really fast,” said Lawrence. “They were still really good books when I read them really fast, but I didn’t really go into detail. Now I’m talking about them to my friends, and answering questions about them.”
“I’m just reading better, in a way,” she added.
Project Lit and other grant-based projects launched within Lufkin ISD were made possible by the district’s Education Foundation, which uses donations to award teachers with grants through the Prize Patrol.
On Thursday, Jan 31., Lufkin ISD will hold a Grant Showcase to allow students, teachers, and potential donors to see how donations directly impact students at Lufkin ISD. Boudreaux’s Project Lit will be presented alongside four other projects from varying grade levels. The Grant Showcase will be held at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center at 5 p.m. and the event is free to the public.