Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, sixth-grade students write about the power of the pencil

Students in Stephanie Santoro’s sixth-grade ELA class at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School improved their writing skills thanks to Malala Yousafzai and her magic pencil.

a group of students are seated around a table

The class had been learning about Malala, and her advocacy over the past few months. Last week, Ms. Santoro read Malala’s Magic Pencil aloud to the class. The story, written by Malala, is a picture book biography describing her life, and how her magic pencil (or, powerful writing), helped her make an impact on the world.

“The read aloud helped build vocabulary, modeled fluent reading, and brought more meaning to her story and the reason why she wanted to stand up for her beliefs as just a young teenager,” Ms. Santoro said.

After the read aloud, students were prompted to reflect on the story and answer the following questions:

  • How would you use magic pencil? 
  • In what ways can you make the world a better place? 
  • What similarities & differences do you have to Malala? 
  • Can writing bring about change in your life? 

Because the Malala’s story resonated so deeply, the students were very much engaged in the lesson, and saw improvements in their writing quality. Here’s jus a sampling of some of their work, shared by their proud teacher!