UPDATE: ALL THE BOOKS ARE PURCHASED! In a little over 24 hours, the initial 215 books (plus a few extra) for the six registries were purchased and sent, so I added an additional registry from a teacher who sent me her list yesterday, and her registry was fulfilled within a few hours. That makes 250 books you all bought for kids in high-needs schools from around the country. Thank you so much for your generosity! The teachers will start receiving the books by the end of the week and they’ll pass them along to their students before they break for winter holidays in a couple weeks. Thanks for another successful DW holiday book drive, everyone!
It’s time again for one of my favorite DW traditions — our annual holiday book drive! It all started in 2012 when we had a last-minute book drive for a class in a low-income school in New Orleans. The drive was such a success that I decided to make it an annual event. Since 2012, we have gifted books to over 500 students in some of the highest poverty schools in the nation. In some cases, the books have been the only gifts these kids have received for the holidays.
This year is our most ambitious year yet — six teachers from five different schools are participating in our drive — and I hope we can continue the tradition of generosity and holiday spirit in 2016 so that over 210 (!) more kids can each get a book to take home for their very own. Learn more about this year’s participants below, and follow the links to their Amazon gift registries where you can purchase books if you’re able to. Thank you so much for your generosity — it really does make a difference!!!
“I’m an eighth grade ELA/Humanities teacher at the John J. Doran Community School in Fall River, MA. Fifty-nine percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch and seventy percent qualify as having high needs. As we are entering the holiday season, it is a time of the unknown for my students. While most children excitedly wait for presents, my students often become anxious because they are not sure what Christmas morning will bring. Sending each of my students off to Christmas break with a new book to read would bring them so much happiness. A goal of mine is to instill a life-long love of reading in my students. This dream could be made more possible if my students were able to select a book for themselves to take home and keep. In an environment where they do not have much to call their own, possessing a book can make all the difference.”
“I teach first grade at a Title One school in Halifax County, NC. Much of the student population consists of high-need students, many of whom are experiencing instability in their homes and a wealth of other risk factors. My students are smart, curious, adventurous, loving and eager to learn, but it has been a real task getting my students interested in books. I can imagine how thrilled they will be to be recipients of your books and how helpful the books will be to inspire them to read.”
“I am a sixth grade ELA/Humanities teacher at a charter school in Northeast D.C. Our school is a residential school for high-need students who are experiencing homelessness or instability in their homes. It also is home to multiple foster students and other at-risk children. My students are bright, funny, engaging, curious, super-smart and loving. They squealed last year when their books arrived. Many of them read their books before bed in the Student Life homes. I work hard to make reading fun and relevant for my students, and having a community of people gift them interesting books really supported me in that end.”
“I’m a first grade teacher at a title 1 elementary school in rural eastern North Carolina. We are in a high-poverty area and many of my students have very little reading material at home. I have a class full of energetic, eager-to-learn, enthusiastic, and caring 6- and 7-year-old students, many of whom are still struggling to learn to read. My goal is not only to help them learn to read but also to develop a love of reading. Taking home their very own books would be very exciting for my students. Any extra books I receive I would like to use to set up a classroom lending library so they would still have other books they could borrow to take home to read.”
“I’m the math teacher at Mountain Valley High School in Saguache, Colorado, where we have fewer than forty students and five teachers who love them very much. Eighty-seven percent of our students are at-risk students, and approximately 40% of our high school students qualify as homeless under Title X (living without electricity and/or water or living without a parent). In addition to doing our best to provide love and an education for these great kids, we also provide some of our students with access to showers, clothes washing, and even food for the weekends when they are away from school.
We were talking about reading this past week in one of my classes and my students were telling each other about Barnes and Noble. Many had never been in a bookstore before. Their books come from the local library or Walmart (the nearest of which is 45 miles away). The books they receive from this book drive may be the only gifts some of these kids receive for the holidays. When they realize that these gifts came from people all over, they will be truly touched. Thank you for supporting my kids. They mean the world to me, and your generosity will make a difference in their lives!”
“I’m a sixth grade math and science teacher at Davis Middle School in Hillsdale, MI and I participated in the book drive last year. Many students in my class never get to experience purchasing from the school book orders or the book fairs and were in complete awe last year as they received the books you sent. Many of them still carry around their books daily and cherish them. By buying a book for these students, you are enabling them to read what they like and to read at home, where many of them have no other books to read. This gives them a chance to own the most popular books when normally they wouldn’t be able to.”
“I am a First Grade teacher. This is my first year teaching and I am so excited. I teach at a Title One school, in a rural town in NC. My students are from a low-income background, and as such, it would be a blessing for them to have their own books to take home for Christmas. Books are so important in building reading skills and exposing students to other countries and people around the world.”