Elementary Teacher Starts Urban Education Company
By Betty Holloway
Kathryn Starke was an elementary school teacher from Richmond, Virginia who found that teaching her urban students to read came with its own set of difficulties. Richmond is one of the cities containing several areas of condensed urban poverty. Many of the students attending elementary schools in these areas struggle with learning even the basics of reading and carry those struggles to middle and sometimes even high school. Not only do schools in high-poverty areas lack the resources to teach their students on an individual level, but educators often lack the knowledge as to how to provide the motivation for urban students to become literate.
Kathryn Starke learned that she could address this problem by reevaluating the way she taught her students. By giving her students individualized attention and coming up with new stories which they could relate to, she saw a “starke” change in her students’ attitudes about reading. She even wrote her own educational children’s book based on the experiences of her friend from Longwood University. Amy’s Travels was the first picture book to show the culture and diversity of all seven continents through the eyes of a young Latina girl. Starke successfully taught her students with this book and eventually sought to publish it so that other teachers might use it as well.
Kathryn Starke started Creative Minds Publications,LLC an up and coming global educational company which both publishes children’s books and consults other instructors on how to overcome the educational challenges which children from high-poverty areas face. Creative Minds has even expanded internationally, with Amy’s Travels taught in over twenty different countries in eight different languages. “The special thing about Creative Minds is that it is the first company really focused on promoting urban literacy.” Kathryn Starke explained in one interview, “We’re addressing a problem which most people don’t even know exists.”
Not only does Creative Minds Publications teach urban literacy, the content of its books teaches cultural diversity and acceptance as well as environmental awareness. Turtle Without a Home is another of Creative Mind’s books which takes children on Ted Turtle’s journey to find a new home after his pond has been polluted.
Creative Minds Publications partners with museums, bookstores, and other companies interested in promoting children’s literacy. The Latin Ballet of Virginia even developed an original performance of Amy’s Travels in the summer of 2014. “We’re excited about the attention Creative Minds has received,” says Starke. “We will continue to advocate and promote quality literary instruction for all children.”
For more information about Creative Minds Publications, please visit http://www.creativemindspublications.com