Increasing Literacy on the Plateau

What was your driving question?

How can out middle school lead in efforts to increase literacy skills within our community?

Grades Involved


How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

We connected with the carpentry department from Western Carolina University and Jennings Building Supplies. We also connected with a local gas station, the dog park, and the Village Play… our local playground.

What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

Our middle school students worked with college students from Western Carolina’s carpentry department to design and build free little libraries to be placed around our community. The project is still going on, but the free libraries are built. They will be painted and placed around town this spring. Students chose to place them at the dog park and fill that one with books for adults, the Village Play and fill that one with children’s books, and the gas station and fill it with Spanish/English books. This has the potential to have a big impact on our community. I will keep you posted, but I am very excited about this project!

How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

Ongoing, but can potentially increase literacy and promote English language skills to our Spanish population.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

Surprisingly, it has been getting paint. The building supplies were all donated and we need paint now. Also, we built 4 free libraries in small groups, but even in small groups, only one student can work with the WCU student at a time hammering/ nailing, etc., so there is a lot of downtime for middle school kids… which can invite mischief.

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“I can’t wait to put this one up at the dog park! We even added a hook for the dog leash!” Lydia H. 6th grade
“I bet we could even add some basic supplies to the one we put at the gas station for the Mexican workers, along with Spanish/ English books.” Brayden H. 8th grade