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Reading project helps MSU students and working teachers

Vash-ti HudsonAs COVID-19 continues to impact schools, one MSU instructor has found a way to help her students and help students, teachers and parents in area public school systems.   

Shawn Justice, instructor of education, was trying to develop creative ways to help students in her Children’s Literature and Materials class get their required field experience hours virtually this fall.   

“I have had to really think outside of the box about how to give my students the quality experiences they need and still meet all the course requirements,” Justice said. “Education is changing, so I thought the structure of the field experience hours probably should look different, too.”  

Justice’s students are learning about children’s books that are suitable for instruction and were asked to choose either a book that had received a children’s book award or a book by an award-winning author. Students were required to join the Kentucky Virtual Library and Epic Books, which are online databases of children’s books. They could also visit the Camden-Carroll Library or their local library to select a book. Students recorded themselves reading the books and were graded and given feedback on the readings. Justice said the assignment benefitted her students, not only by teaching them how to select books that are well-written for instructional use but by teaching them how to adapt to the changing landscape of education.   

“I think we are in a very exciting time for education. It is messy and painful and a struggle at times, but all growth and progress are those things,” Justice said. “Education students right now are getting in on the ground floor of what education will look like in the future.”  

Approximately 60 pre-service education students participated in the assignment, and Justice said she’s received more than 200 responses to a Facebook post she made offering the recordings for teachers to use in their classrooms. The videos will be shared with more than 20 school districts across the state, as well as two public libraries and several parents who are teaching their children at home.   

Justice graduated from MSU in 1991 with a degree in elementary education K-4.  

To learn more about the program or to request links to the videos, contact Justice at   

For information about MSU’s Volgenau College of Education programs, visit, email or call 606-783-2162. 
Photo Caption: Education student Vash-ti Hudson of Milford, Ohio, reads “Officer Buckle and Gloria” in a video assignment for Shawn Justice’s Children’s Literature and Materials class.