Children’s author reads to Johnston County students

From News ReleaseJune 23, 2014 

Benson Elementary students show off their copies of “Amanda the Panada.” Shown are, from left: front row – Vanessa Estrada, Noe Riveria, Lazaro Chavez, Cynthia Garcia and Linda Carranza; middle row – Adrian Martinez, Ruby Garcia, Melody Mendoza, Fanny Jimenez, Joseph Suate, Bradley Aparizio and ESL teacher Ingrid Woodworth; and row – Principal Deborah P. Johnson, Christian Mellenthin, Emmanuel Sotelo, Crystal Cruz, Julio Chavis and Abrahan Rodriguez. In back is author Louise Majeski.


Children’s book author Louise Majeski recently visited several Johnston County elementary schools, reading her new book to English as Second Language students.

Majeski is a former Johnston County schools’ employee. She was a migrant student advocate and taught in the ESL program at North Johnston Middle School.

Over a four-week period Majeski read her book, “Amanda the Panda,” to students in kindergarten through second grade at a dozen schools. Each student received a signed copy of the book courtesy the school system’s ESL department.

ESL teachers coordinated lessons on literary terms and prior knowledge of pandas, which Majeski incorporated into the readings. She also reinforced the importance of reading daily to improve language skills.

Students asked Majeski about the writing process, and she told them that having a book published had been a lifelong dream.

“You should follow your dreams,” Majeski said. “Once you discover what it is you want to do, practice, practice, practice, so you can be good at it.”

“If the students had half as much fun as I had, I think they had a good time,” the author added. “This was an amazing event.”

Schools on the tour were Benson Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Cooper, Corinth-Holders Elementary, Four Oaks, Meadow, River Dell, Riverwood Elementary, Selma, South Smithfield, West Clayton and West View.

“ ‘Amanda the Panda’ was so precious to my kids,” said Cooper ESL teacher Michelina Aoun. “When they got dismissed in the afternoon, most of them were proudly holding the book in their hands rather than packing it. It was like holding on to a treasure.”

Selma teacher Tamara Seelig said she still sees students pulling out the book from their desks and looking at it when they have a free moment. “I had a student go to their book bag during flex time and pull out the story and ask me to read it in English,” she said.

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