And The Beat Goes On – Remembering A Decade in the Books


By Betty Trummel

In 2016, A to Z Literacy Movement had a busy year!  The first few months of the year was a flurry of local activity with students leading the way on many of the key initiatives.  Even at our 3rd annual Trivia Night fundraiser at Park Place in Crystal Lake, local high school students played a part in hosting the evening.

In March a unique event was held at Betty’s house, with her former 4th grade students stealing the show with “There’s Music in the House.”  Their musical performances raised hundreds of dollars for spring shipments of books.


April dodgeball tournaments at both Bernotas and Hannah Beardsley Middle Schools raised $2,100 for A to Z Literacy Movement.




Just before school ended for the year, Crystal Lake Central AVID students created “Paired Texts – Books in a Bag” projects for students at School of Hope. These colorful and lively books and stuffed animals were sure to be a hit.


When school was out in June, it meant it was time to travel to Zambia to provide professional development for Zambian educators.  While Betty stayed in the capital city of Lusaka and concentrated on Shine Zambia Reading Academy, Mal and Dave served at the rural School of Hope.



The three of them came together to help provide a professional development workshop at School of Hope that supported over 150 Zambian educators.


Their time in Zambia was rewarding and brought such positive outcomes for both students and teachers in challenging school situations.  Our work continued to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable students in Zambia.



But wait…our work wasn’t only focused on Zambia.  In July a free book fair was held for District #47 Summer School students at Glacier Ridge Elementary School in Crystal Lake.  Another free book fair for over 100 students in grades 1-5 took place Coventry Elementary School.



And, later in the fall A to Z Literacywas also on hand at the Immanuel Lutheran Clinic to hand out books to children and families.  Our outreach to local families was strong!


A fall fundraiser at the Crystal Lake Brewery raised funds for a shipment of books to be sent to the Philippines.


Later in the fall we hosted the “A to Z Hunger Bowl” fundraiser at Metro Bowl in Crystal Lake.  Money raised at this even benefitted the Shine Zambia Reading Academy school lunch program.



Once again, we ended our year with a successful Christmas Book Drive at Good Shepherd Hospital.  2016 was a great year for A to Z Literacy Movement.

Highlights of 2017 included a lot of local outreach and fundraising…again with students often in the lead.

** February: “Libations for Literacy” fundraiser was held at Park Place.


** March: South Elementary School in Crystal Lake raised $1,200 for A to Z during their “Coins for a Cause” fundraiser.

** Dodgeball Tournaments at Bernotas and Hannah Beardsley Middle Schools raised over $3,000 for A to Z Literacy Movement.


** May:  Crystal Lake Central AVID students created “Paired Texts—Books in a Bag” for students at School of Hope.


** July:  Free book fair at Glacier Ridge for 300 students attending District #47 Summer School



** October: Our free book fair was a success at “The Clinic” at Immanuel Lutheran Church.


In July Mal traveled to Zambia to continue our mission at School of Hope, which is part of All Kids Can Learn International.  Her relationship with the educators at this school continued to grow, and also the connection with Jonathan Mwale, our scholarship student stayed strong.  It’s wonderful to see the growth of students and teachers over a longer period of time, and we believe that these deeper relationships and connections make us unique.  A to Z strives to foster collaboration and give teachers in Zambia the tools they need to be better teachers.


Since Betty had now moved to Cape Cod, she started to grown A to Z’s “East Coast Connection.” She organized a partnership with Harwich Elementary School in her new hometown in Massachusetts and linked with The Family Pantry of Cape Cod. Harwich Elementary hosted a book drive and the results were fantastic.


  • 1,200 books were collected and donated.
  • 300 new books were placed in holiday gift bags and given out at The Family Pantry.
  • Over 900 books went into the Family Pantry “boutique” which benefits those visiting the Family Pantry
  • 35 nonfiction books were saved to bring to Shine Zambia in 2018.


December brought a lot of holiday cheer and our annual Christmas book drive at Good Shepherd Hospital that once again brought in many book donations for our shipments.


Donations to A to Z are what keeps us going!

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