Caiden Ireland is a superhero – and that declaration has nothing to do with his homemade Spider-Man mask or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt.

No, the youngster in Joy Crow’s Cler-Mont Elementary School kindergarten class is a superhero because of his love of reading.

Just ask him.

“Reading makes me happy, and when I’m happy I feel like a superhero,” said young Caiden, who was joined by his classmates as they all wore superhero gear to celebrate a recent donation to their classroom through the DonorsChoose.org website.

When she took our new dry/erase boards, they silently clapped in unison, just as she had directed. They then giggled with delight as she unpacked boxes of teaching aids that benefit kindergartners as they are learning to spell, write complete sentences and do math problems.

“I like the new dry/erase boards because they are clean and pretty,” said Avery May, who took her superhero look to a new level as she was a superhero butterfly. “When we get new things for my classroom it makes my heart happy. Today, my heart is very happy.”

When he wasn’t fist bumping his classmates or celebrating the new classroom items, Caiden was turning in his best superhero poses.

“I really feel like a superhero today,” Caiden said. “It’s cool to feel like a superhero. That’s why my class is so cool because today we are all superheroes.”

Crow got the idea for the superhero theme a few years ago when she saw a bulletin board that stated READING IS SUPER.

“Reading is so important in kindergarten,” Crow explained. “We have children in our school whose parents might not read to them at home. That’s why reading is so important to me and the children in my class.”

“I want them to love reading and I want them to feel special when they read.”

And she wants the best for her class, but with two children in college and working on a teacher’s budget, Crow needed some help.

That’s when she went to DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows her to write a detailed inventory of the items she needs for her brightly colored and child-friendly classroom.

“We’re on a tight budget, and there’s not a lot of extra money available,” she explained. “The money we get barely buys basic supplies like staples, paper, markers and other items.”

“If I do a craft with my students, I buy the items myself. I just went to Wal-Mart the other and spent $30 on crepe paper and cotton balls. It all adds up quickly.”

So she wrote about the needs of her classroom, posted it on DonorsChoose.org and $380 was donated. The money goes to the website, and is then transferred to Amazon.com or to the store where Crow will purchase the classroom items. The teacher never receives money, just the opportunity to help buy supplies.

“Kindergarten classrooms have many needs,” she added. “Our students need various manipulatives to count, books to read and learning resources to practice important skills.

“They also need puzzles and building toys and art supplies and we were able to purchase those thanks to the generosity of the people who made donations.”

And on this very special day, Crow didn’t have a mask or cape, but she was feeling super.

“Look at those smiles,” she said. “They really appreciate what was donated, and yes, that does make me feel super.”