Bookstore Shows 'Ideas Can Change the World'

Wyandot Student-Led Bookstore Teaches 'Ideas Can Change the World'
Posted on 06/04/2018
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A new student-led bookstore at Wyandot Early Childhood School is the product of a big lesson for Libby Brown’s kindergarten class: Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.

photo of Wyandot class that created a bookstoreThe original idea came from kindergartner Carson Ratliff. “I thought since we were making lots of books in Writer’s Workshop, we might as well make a bookstore,” he said. Soon after, the entire class rallied behind his idea and began building upon it.

“They were persistent that something needed to happen,” said Wyandot Principal Mary Brophy.

So, Brown went off course, encouraging her class to put their idea into action and organizing opportunities for them to learn in the process. They wrote a persuasive letter to academic coach Emily Hermann to obtain the bookshelf now situated outside their classroom for any Wyandot student to shop from. They met with technology teacher Jenny Haynes to explore the idea of printing bookmarks for their patrons, which they proudly proclaim were sold out on opening day. They visited Barnes & Noble to talk with industry experts. They even interviewed Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller about being a good manager.

It was Miller who helped the class realize that “sometimes you have to start small to get big,” Brown said. The class got busy developing their business plan and then doing all the work to open their bookstore - giving it a name (Books R Us), collecting and sorting books, promoting it, coming up with a fee structure (Wyandot’s “shining stars” awarded for positive behavior) and developing a work schedule. From managers and cashiers to shelvers and sign makers, everyone had a job.

“As an educator, this project taught me to never underestimate my students - even if they are five and six years old,” Brown said at the May 21 board meeting, where she and her students were recognized. “Passing by our bookshelf, you might call it cute. Their work is much deeper than that. The amount of thought, revision, collaboration, and dedication that went into this project is remarkable.”

“From start to finish, the entire project was led by students,” she continued. “These students had an idea and they persisted. I think we can all learn from them.”

Reflecting on their project, students overwhelmingly answered “yes” to the question, “Can a bookstore change the world?” One student, Kendall, expanded on her answer, saying, “A bookstore is an idea and ideas can change the world.”

“I’m so proud of Mrs. Brown for taking a risk and encouraging her students to take the lead,” said Wyandot Principal Mary Brophy. “It’s amazing what comes about just by freeing their minds to think about a problem and how to solve it.”

Click here to watch a video Wyandot students helped produce about their bookstore project.