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DALLAS (CBS11) – It is a victory on most days if you can get a kindergarten student to read. But a teacher at Dallas’ J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard has gotten hers to write a book.

“I ripped open the box and I saw the book, I just screamed with excitement,” said kindergarten teacher Michelle Hodges. “All of the hard work that we have been doing with our kindergarteners has paid off: it’s official: they are now authors and illustrators!”

The book is titled “If I Were the Teacher…”

Each student in the class wrote a page and then contributed an illustration. Not bad to be able to pad a resume with “published author” at the ripe old age of 5.

“Cool!” exclaimed 5-year-old Abdullah, whose page explained that if he were the teacher, “I would show my students how to play at recess.” And there teacher contributions like “helping with science work.”

Hodges said her young charges were excited about the challenge of writing and publishing their own book.

“They shouted, they screamed because it’s something that they’re not really exposed to,” said Hodges. “A lot of them at home just aren’t exposed to that environment, so I thought it would be a good idea to show them something else. To show them something different.”

The school is located in a poor community in Southeast Dallas where students often lack access to books outside of school.

The fact these kindergarten students are now published authors, said Hodges, is intended to spur a love of reading and learning.

“Reading is essential to everything… you can’t even do a math problem without knowing how to read.”

There’s another life lesson hidden in the fresh new pages—the critical link between hard work and reward.

“It really is, it kind of shows them that there’s no limit,” said Hodges. “The possibilities are limitless as to what they can do.”

Family and friends can order copies here. The book number is 3709787.

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