Del Valle students thankful for donated class books

The book purchased with donations for Mrs. Smith's class.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Morgan Smith’s fifth grade class is tackling a New York Times Best Seller.

The main character in the chapter book called Wonder is someone her students at Del Valle ISD’s Hillcrest Elementary School can relate to. “He sometimes doesn’t fit in, and sometimes I don’t fit in either,” said 11-year-old Noel Mendez.

He and his classmates are also connecting with the plot. “It’s better to be kind than be right, and it’s ok if you’re different,” said fifth grader Xochilth Rojo.

Two years ago Mrs. Smith only had one copy, and read it out loud.

This year she wanted every student to have their own copy of the book so they could follow along with the text, and read it out loud to each other in groups. A class set cost $285 dollars so she turned to a website called Donors Choose. It’s a place where educators post their wishes and wait for friends, family and total strangers to fund it. “I thought it would take a few weeks, a month, two months maybe,” said Smith.

Her class had every penny in record time — just three hours.

It was another story she shared with her class. “They don’t know us and they’re just trying to help us so we can get a better education,” said Rojo.

Part of their teacher’s goal was to also increase their love for reading. Mission accomplished. “Everyday they come in and we have all these things to do, they keep asking when we’re going to read Wonder,” said Smith with a smile.

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