Okay ladies and gents it’s almost that time again. School starts back in a couple weeks. This means I’ll be gaining a new group of enthusiastic 4th graders with the mentor/literacy program I’m a volunteer for.
So here is the deal…if you are already aware of the Book Fairies program then I’ve created a LJ community bookfairies for you to check out periodically for updates and requests. I’ll also send out email updates too.
If you have no clue whatsoever what I’m talking about…here ya go:
Some basic details:
I volunteer once a week for about 3 hours with a literacy/mentor type program thing here at an inner-city school in Birmingham. I work with 4th graders who read on around a 1st or 2nd grade level.
These kids are the poorest of the poor economically. I’m talking threadbare uniforms, parents not around sometimes, witnesses to stuff kids should never be witnesses to, etc. In the years I’ve been doing this I’ve had kids who were abused by their parents, molested by relatives and/or neighbors, victims of drive by shootings and many other horrors that God forbid any of our kids ever have to face daily.
They crave attention from adults. They absolutely tackle me when I walk through the door many times. In many cases they have nobody telling them they can make it or they can make something of their lives.
I work through an organization for the literacy part of the program…the rest I do on my own. The literacy part is called the MORE program (Motivators Of Reading Enrichment). Each week the kids select an approved book and read it. They then complete a book report for me on the book. They must score 70% or higher in order for it to “count” toward their score. After 5 successful reports they win a MORE T-shirt. After 10, a candy bar of their choice. After 15…the coveted Blue Ribbon. The highest reader gets to attend a luncheon with me, their teacher and their principal at the end of the year for the Award Ceremony.
The MORE program also supports an essay writing contest at the close of each school year. The kids write about what the MORE program and reading means to them. I am very pleased to say that one of my kids won last year for the entire school. She has now decided she wants to be an author or a teacher when she grows up.
The stuff I do on my own is financed by me, generous friends and family members, business contacts and last year…some truly generous Dopers.
I normally have anywhere from 20-25 kids in my class each year. Last year Dopers adopted one kid and committed to send that kid a book once a month along with a letter or trinket or postcard from where they are from, etc. It was a HUGE success. The kids went to the library and checked out books on the states where their Book Fairy lived. They used an atlas to find the states on the map. They wrote letters back and forth. It was amazing.
So I’m looking for new Book Fairies for the upcoming year. This is not something I want anybody to commit to if you don’t think you can do it. I don’t want disappointed kids if someone commits then half way through the year can’t finish. Last year, unfortunately this happened and I (and other Dopers) ended up buying books so nobody was left out. I want to try and avoid doing that this year if at all possible.
Also, if you can’t do 8 months worth of books, maybe team up with someone else? Or just send in a book whenever you can for me to add to my “extra” stash? Or maybe your area has something interesting you think the kids might like. Last year I had people sending candy, postcards, small items famous to their state/region, newspapers articles…TONS of stuff.
Basically, whatever anyone wants to do is great and wonderful with me. And, if you can’t do anything or aren’t interested, then good thoughts and such are most welcome also.