Panama City, FL
From the TeacherThere are simply no words to describe to you the change I saw in my classroom after your generous donation to fund our classroom library. I was able to use many of the Magic Tree House books to engage my students in U.S. history as well as science. After reading aloud multiple of the Magic Tree House books to my class, we were then able to do character studies on Jack and Annie, looking at how they grew throughout their many adventures. I had students greet me at the door in the mornings and before even saying "Good morning", they would ask if I would have time to read to them. Reading was no longer work to them, as history and science came alive through Jack and Annie's adventures.
Reading in our school is very regimented, and unfortunately, boring for most of our students. Because so many of our students are reading multiple grade levels below where they need to be reading, we use a scripted reading program in multiple groups so the teachers can meet our students where they are and give them targeted instruction. Unfortunately, the stories presented to them are below their interest levels and some of them struggle to stay engaged for 70 minutes every day. With a classroom library, I was able to take time out of our busy schedule and use stories more on their interest levels as well as materials that met science and social studies standards as well.
I had multiple students who especially enjoyed our beautiful classroom library. One of my students has lived in foster care his entire life, and I don't think had ever owned a book of his own. He failed every reading test until shortly after our library was set up, because he wouldn't actually read any of the passages. He would answer the questions blindly, without any knowledge of the storyline or the characters. He was in love with Clementine, and would read and reread those three books over and over again. It almost became an issue with his classmates, because he didn't want to put them back on the shelf so others could read them. I then used poor Clementine as a bribe. I told him that if he did his absolute best on our weekly reading tests and I saw that he was working hard, I would give him a set of Clementine books, one book a month. After 3 months, he was passing the reading tests, had a complete Clementine trilogy, and always had her with him no matter where we went.
Another student who seemed to be deeply impacted by our classroom library was socially awkward and struggled with making connections with his classmates. He is a huge fan of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, and part of that is because the main character is somewhat socially awkward and seems to constantly have the worst of luck. Having the entire set allowed almost half my class to read a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book at any given time. I noticed that they would crowd around one another during lunch to discuss the different books and why their favorite book was the best. My student who, at one time struggled to make connections with his classmates, was usually in the middle of the huddle.
A million times over, thank you and thank you again! I was abundantly blessed to see my students prosper and grow thanks to you and your generosity.
From the Students