Tampa teacher Sheena Howell rewrites pop hit 'Boo'd Up' to inspire her students to read and write

"Booked Up" music video is a viral hit
Posted at 3:09 AM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 07:26:18-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sheena Howell is always trying to find new ways to inspire her students to read.

When the fifth-grade teacher at Tampa’s Oak Park Elementary School heard Ella Mai’s pop hit “Boo’d Up,” she found another way.

That is how “Booked Up” was born.

“I started singing, ‘Reading, so deep in my reading,’” says Howell. “And I said, ‘Ooh, we’re going to write a song.’”

She rewrote the lovey-dovey pop hit to make it all about the joys of reading, the fun of books. Howell's students took the lyrics home to memorize.

The next day, teacher and kids, all holding their favorite books while they crooned, recorded a music video of the song that’s been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

What makes the video even more special is that Oak Park Elementary is a Grade F school because test scores are low.

New principal Ryan Moody says the innovation and engagement behind "Booked Up" are the kinds of envelope-pushing things that can help turn around a struggling school.

“It’s teachers like Mrs. Howell who are making the difference, inspiring the kids and getting them excited,” says Moody.