Getting Books into the Hands of Children

By Anastasia Gruper

Mrs. White made the special morning announcement, “A to Z Literacy is here today to give out free books.” The cheers that filled the classrooms (from students and adults) would have made the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes–as it did ours.  As Dave, Mal, Wendy, and Alia set up the library, I was the lucky one to invite classrooms to choose books to take home.  When I explained that each child could choose up to four free books, smiles exploded on faces.  

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Upon entering the library, there were hundreds of books displayed. Students walked around choosing just the right book. There were whispers and giggles about Captain Underpants and Diary of A Wimpy Kid.  Kids read fun facts to each other from the National Geographic Weird But True books.  There were endless requests for a variety of topics: armadillos, puppies, bunnies, baseball . . .  For every request, there was an adult to help guide a choice.

Students didn’t just choose books for themselves.  One student asked Mal, “Can I bring this one home to my sister? She would love it.”  Mal announced that students could bring books to anyone they thought would enjoy them.  A young boy came up to me and said, “I’m getting this one for my teacher.  She loves these books.  On the last day of school, I’m going to tie a ribbon on it for her. Don’t tell her.”  I smiled and said, “Of course, I won’t (although it’s difficult not to tell).” The gift of giving was endless today–as was the joy of reading.

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When students returned to their classes, they wanted to dive into their books.  Pat reported that one of her students asked to read the Amber Brown book he chose rather than listen to read aloud.  Teachers happily allowed the kids fall into the flow of reading.  Today we were grateful to share the love of reading and choice of books with so many students in Crystal Lake. Happy reading everyone!

7 thoughts on “Getting Books into the Hands of Children

  1. It’s just amazing to think of how many children have read a book donated by A to Z. This organization shares a love of reading with children and adults that has changed lives. And now Mal is off on a new Africa adventure that will lift the literacy of schools in Zambia. Amazing!

    • Ann,
      As a member of the A to Z team, you have changed the literacy lives of adults (mine included) and children both locally and in Zambia. This organization has provided so many of us the opportunity to connect and grow with each other. Thank you for your endless efforts!

    • Ann,
      Thanks for the kind words and for always supporting the work of A to Z. Your contribution for this year’s trip was so valuable – finding resources to assist in teaching teachers about writing instruction. Thank you!

  2. I read this and cried. This is amazing! I started a similar project on a smaller scale to put books into the homes of our rural county. I also send a few to other places my kids have visited. We provide books to the health department. Parents can pick out a board book each time they visit with their babies and we even have some for older siblings! Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Samantha, Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing your work. Helping parents to begin their home libraries is so important. What a gift to receive a book while helping to keep your baby healthy. Thanks for promoting the love of reading. 🙂

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