Fast Forward to Literacy

Successes

As you know, students at Columbine overcome many obstacles in order to achieve their respective goals. I must thank you personally for your advocacy. Your book gifts have been tremendous supports which have helped our students become better readers, thereby increasing their self-esteem, self-respect, and self-reliance.

My teachers have shared numerous ideas about how they have used your books as a practicum. Our children read and learn alongside their parents while creating projects, reading and creating recipes, and most importantly, exchanging and verbalizing feelings, thoughts, goals, and family issues. Your book gifts became not only instruments for academic improvement, but tools for family bonding—so rare in our student’s lives. Your generous contribution, along with creative lessons planned by Columbine teachers, brought generations of extended families and community members together to discuss the stories of their lives and their families’ rich traditions and core values.

My teachers and I thank you for the extra resources that help them teach with quality and creativity. My students thank you for all the fun! Again, I thank you for your help with teaching our students that literacy is the foundation for joy and a good life.

Respectfully,

Stephen Wera
Principal, Columbine Elementary


On behalf of the students, parents, and staff of Maria Mitchell ECE-6, I would like to thank you for choosing our school and our ECE-3rd grade students to receive the 10 brand new books to take home. It is so heart-warming to think that over 2,700 beautiful new books went out into our community. Mitchell is located in neighborhood highly impacted by poverty, and many of our families don't have the luxury to spend money on books and to build a rich home library.

The students and parents were so excited to receive the books. Our teachers were very creative in introducing the 10 books each student received to take home, as well as brought parents in to share with their children as they received these books for their home libraries. Many of our families have two or more children that attend Mitchell. The books you so generously gave our students will be held by many little hands and read many, many times.

Your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated. Your efforts in creating such an amazing organization will impact so many lives and will continue to give more than we could ever measure.

Jennifer Burton
Principal, Maria Mitchell Elementary School


I just wanted to let you know what an amazing addition your books have been to the learning that is happening for my students this year. It took time to figure out how to best use the books.

The first book I introduced was Cuando sea grande. We began with an extended picture walk which took two days. On the third day I passed out individual copies and let the children picture walk and discuss with a partner. On the fourth day the children were begging me to read it to them They adored the story, of course, and we happily spent more than another week rereading and discussing it. I wanted the children to become very fond of the story and protective of the books before I sent them home.

Finally I did send Cuando sea grande home with each child for Christmas. It is very likely that for many of these children this was the first time that they ever found a book under the Christmas tree (brand new, brightly wrapped and in Spanish)!

For the next two weeks we studied La Princesa y El Guisante, and it turned out that none of them knew what a pea was because they are not served in Mexico! So, naturally, I brought in peas to taste, and they thought, almost unanimously, that the peas were quite tasty.

Soon after, we had our first parent meeting. I told the children that if they attended the meeting with their parents they would be able to take The Princess and the Pea home. Seventeen of the twenty-one families attended and the remainder made appointments with me for later in the week. I asked the parents why reading is important; shared some research data with them about love of books, success in reading, graduation rates and future earnings, and quality of life. Then I modeled how to read with their children, and all the families sat and read together for 20 minutes with juice and cookies.

The ten books became an integral part of my literacy program and, in fact, my program was built around them. As the year passed, all ten books went home with the children. It was a fabulous way to reach out to families and strengthen the home school connection.

I cannot thank you enought for your commitment and generosity. Check your mailbox for the childrens' letters!!!

Eileen Lowey
Harrington Elementary School


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