Wednesday, September 15, 2010

These boys need books. Lots of books.

I love teaching reading. Reading is the heart of learning. A child who can read has access to so many worlds, so much fascinating information, so many opportunities, so much fun.

Every year my students span a wide range of reading levels. This year the range is wider than ever, and there are more struggling readers than ever, too. Seven children, all boys, who read at a first grade level.

Fourth graders. Nine- and ten-year-olds who read like the little kids -- when they read at all.

I can teach them, work with them every day. Sight words. Phonics. Structure. Basic punctuation and what it means. But in the meantime, they need to read on their own. And therein lies my challenge. I need to help them read, read a lot, and read often. To do that, I need to provide these boys books they can read and books they want to read. Something easy, outrageously easy, and yet something exciting and fun.

I have the structure planned: each of these kiddos will have his own box of books at all times. The box will contain books they can read, books at their level, books that they'll read when it's time for them to read on their own. A literacy coach once told me that after students independently read 25 books at their level, they move themselves to the next level. These boys need to read. I know, I've already said that. 25 books will sound impossible to them, so I won't say it out loud. But I will provide books, and they will read, and read, and read.

The only barrier is money. Oh, yeah, money. School budgets are already pared to the bone. To buy more books, first grade reading level but high-interest enough for a fourth grader, will take money. Stimulus funds? Spent well, but spent. Title I Reading funds? Put to good use, believe me. I'll be at a Title sponsored training tonight.

Grants? Help me out. There's a local grant group, but they don't buy books. Bless their heart, they think there are enough books on the shelves, and no one needs more. Shudder. Are there really people who think this way?

Now what? Readers, can you send me to a source for grant money for these kids? A source that will send the money, and soon, so I can buy books and get these guys reading now? Leave it in the comments or email me. Okaybyme at gmail dot com. Please. Let's give these boys a future. A reading future.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Jen on the Edge said...

Have you checked to see if there is a Reading is Fundamental program in your area? (http://www.rif.org/) If there isn't one, you can put together a great request to start a program at your school.

I've been a professional fundraiser for my entire career. If you want to talk offline, let me know and I'll be happy to brainstorm with you.

9/15/2010 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Jen on the Edge said...

P.S. Just shared this post's link on Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully someone will have some good ideas. Also, my sister is a reading coordinator at a Title I school, so I'll talk to her.

9/15/2010 7:07 AM  
Blogger Earth Muffin said...

I can't send you grant money, but I could send you some books. If you're interested, email me your address.

9/15/2010 7:36 AM  
Blogger daysgoby said...

Try your local men's clubs - the Knights of Columbus, The Elks, etc. They often have discretionary funding they can use for community projects.

9/15/2010 7:53 AM  
Blogger bunny said...

Ditto on the local "business people" clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Masons, Elks, etc...whatever is in your area.

Another option...do you have a local Junior League? Our local JL supports only women's and children's projects. Maybe yours is same.

Our local power company (an Electric Membership Corporation) also has a grant project called Project Round Up (they round up your electric bill and then give grant back to community). Check with your local utilities (esp. electric) to see if they do something similar).

One last thought..what about partnering with a local university's sororities and/or fraternities? All, as far as I know, have to do community service projects and they might be willing to help raise money, as well.

The good news is, it is the start of the year for many of these orgs and they have not exhausted their budgets! You have a compelling case that shouldn't cost much money. Just line up your facts and start the appeal! Good luck!

PS, I came here from Jen on the Edge. I also am a professional fundraiser.

9/15/2010 8:34 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I ditto Earth Muffin. I do not have suggestions of grants, but I would be happy to send books. If you could supply a list of appropriate books and an address I could send them to, I'd be happy to send a couple. I wouldn't be surprised if others felt the same.

9/15/2010 8:48 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Good luck. There are never too many books. Especially for that level of reader.

9/15/2010 9:26 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Hello, came over from a comment on Twitter from Jen on the Edge. My husband is a new 4th grade teacher. He has gotten free books from the Half Price Book store, if you have those in your area. Also there are online sites where teachers can list grants and individuals can donate a small amount toward a goal. He posts those on facebook and gets a lot of donations that way. You could also ask on Craigslist or freecycle for kids books. Good Luck.

9/15/2010 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Talk to your local public library childrens librarian. She just gave me 10 books that she bought for almost nothing. She is always on the lookout.

2. Talk to your Masonic uncle and you may get more books than you want.

9/16/2010 10:25 AM  
Blogger Mocha said...

How about a Donors Choose page for book donation money? They are my new favorite teacher resource and I'd love to see your school get books.

Incidentally, I'm just now reading "Al Capone Does My Shirts" and it's very cute.

9/16/2010 1:54 PM  

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