On June 28th, A to Z Literacy Movement volunteers hosted their annual free book fair for 300 students attending summer school in Crystal Lake. Girls and boys in grades one through eight were able to self-select two books to take home . . . that’s 600 books to enjoy! Yeh!
In addition, we have shipped the last of our four
shipments for 2018. One major celebration was sending children’s books to a small library in Pakistan – a new country for us to connect with and support young readers. And while the cost of shipping has increased, we are still deeply committed to getting books into the hands of children around the world.
On July 20th, Betty, Alia, and Mal will head back to Zambia to work with our partner schools, Shine Zambia Reading Academy and School of Hope. Be on the lookout for an email with details of their experiences.
And as always, thank you for continuing to support us and believing in our mission to increase the love of reading everywhere. We could not do this work without YOU!
It all starts with a fundraiser – like dodgeball tournaments at Bernotas Middle School and Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake, Illinois. These fantastic schools hosted their annual A to Z Dodgeball Tournaments to raise funds for the shipping of books.
A to Z volunteers then hit the local libraries (post book sales) to gather free children’s books. (Library books are especially awesome as the sturdy hardcover selection provides a balanced assortment for our recipients.) Once the books are hand-picked, they are then boxed up, addressed, and bagged. Ready for the post office!
At the post office, the patient postal worker, Donna, methodically weighs each box, types in all of the shipping information, and ensures each M-Bag has a customs form attached to the M-Bag tag. It’s a process . . . and the line of people behind us usually grows as we work through each box . . . it takes between 30-40 minutes.
Today we shipped six boxes of children’s books to a new country – Pakistan. So exciting! Shearyar Arif Jessani found our nonprofit via the internet and requested an A to Z shipment for a small community library. The little library will serve as a reading room for children in the area and the boys and girls will be able to check library books out as well.
As always, we are so grateful for our supporters who continue to help us meet our goals and live out our mission to increase the love of reading and get books into children’s hands.
A to Z Literacy Movement had the privilege to host another local book fair this morning at Coventry Elementary School in Crystal Lake. Over one hundred students in grades first through fifth came to check out the selection of free books and then choose a few for their home libraries.
As we strive to meet our 2016 goals, A to Z will continue to provide books for children in McHenry County and other parts of Illinois in hopes in making a difference locally by promoting the love of reading and increasing literacy levels.
A to Z Literacy Movement is grateful to Mrs. Welder’s English class of Crystal Lake Central juniors for once again taking on the wonderful project of *Books in Bags*. Each CLC student chooses a fiction or nonfiction picture book and practices reading and rereading the book aloud. The students then head to the school library to record their reading with Mrs. Nelson, Crystal Lake Central’s librarian. Once the recording is complete, the students create a short comprehension check and discussion guide with questions and prompts to be answered or discussed by students in our Zambian partner schools. The *Books in Bags* are a fantastic asset to any classroom or library listening station, and we are really excited about this year’s selection of picture books. Thank you so much to the teachers and students involved in this literacy project!
“Having worked with A to Z Literacy since building our literacy school, Shine Zambia Reading Academy in 2009, I know personally how much their help has contributed to the success of our school. Not just support through financial sponsorship of teachers’ allowances and pupil lunches, or through books donated and shipped to Zambia to stock our school library, but in the training provided to our teachers. This training has been given by Mal and various volunteers who have sacrificed their time to work with our teachers for around a week almost every summer for the past 5 years.
I wanted to find out first hand how A to Z and its visits to our school over the years have impacted our teachers, so I asked them. Upon my request, our teachers had a meeting to discuss it and wrote back to me with feedback. The teachers unanimously agreed that they had all been greatly impacted by the A to Z training sessions and feel their teaching style has improved. They specifically mentioned the strategies they were taught for reading with pupils, improving pupil writing skills and conducting group discussions in class. Here’s a quote from our Head Teacher, David Mulenga, about writing strategies: “We were particularly astounded at how well our own Year 2 pupils were able to write, all by themselves. We learned this particularly from Dave. He would show them a picture card and ask them to say what they can see from it and he wrote those things on the blackboard. He would then ask the pupils to write their own stories about any of those things written on the board. Wow! It was amazing to see the ideas that came from the children!”
We truly appreciate A to Z Literacy’s guidance over the years in making our literacy program even stronger and we hope to continue working in partnership for many years to come.” – Vineet Bhatnagar
Without you, we would not be able to meet our goals of promoting literacy to students in Zambia and providing professional development to teachers where the need is substantial. Thank you for understanding the mission of global literacy and the importance of reading.
Yes, I wish to make a special year-end gift to help get books into the hands of children who want read. (click here)
A to Z Literacy Movement, Inc is a non-profit 501c3 organization. Your tax-deductible contribution will help promote literacy and increase the love of reading for children living in poverty-stricken areas.
As one of the book gatherers for A to Z Literacy Movement, I see a great number of books come into our hands. Occasionally the books contain secret treasures, flattish objects that someone who once held the book stored away inside.
Typically, they are bookmarks, but we see other items: a book’s receipt or scraps of paper with notes written on them. We picture a student patiently using the E.Z. Reader strip and see that a miniature ten-spot suitably became a bookmark. Even plastic toys wind up in books as the accompanying picture shows.
We are ever appreciative of our book donors, as we couldn’t do our work without them. And we’re reminded of the tale within the book when something slips out from it’s pages.
By Pat Kelly
By Mal Keenan
There is power in a box of books.
Books can make a difference in a child’s life and within his community.
Books can raise reading levels and graduation rates. Books can help solve old problems and create critical thinkers.
As we continue to grow our organization, books remain at the center. We will always be working to get books onto shelves, into homes and classrooms, and in the hands of impoverished children.
“When I think back on all the refugee camps I visited, all over the world, the people always asked for the same thing: books. Sometimes even before medicine or shelter- they wanted books for their children.”
-Mary Anne Schwalbe, Founder Women’s Commission for Refugee Woman and Children
By Ann Yanchura
If you’re lucky enough to have books all over your house or your classroom, then stop and take a moment to feel grateful. There are so many homes and schools where the choices for reading are slim or even nonexistent, and my heart aches for the children and adults who live in a world bereft of the love of the written word.
Most of us reading this blog have been raised to have our pick of many exciting and beautiful titles to choose from whenever we want to curl up and get lost in a book.
‘Tis the season for settling in for some warm winter reading.
‘Tis the season for browsing the bookstores for the perfect gift for your loved ones.
‘Tis the season to share your books and love of reading with others.
‘Tis the season to be thankful for books, large and small, old and new, heavy and light, funny and sad, true and not-so-true.
By Erik Merke
Whether you’re a teacher, tutor, parent, or student, you know the power of a favorite book and the joys that come from reading. Obviously, there is a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment when volunteering, but A to Z goes beyond that. When A to Z isn’t sending books to impoverished schools in Zambia, they help local residents through community outreach events, such as the book fair held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake.
Students of all ages filed into the gymnasium looking for books. Getting just the right book into the hands of an eager young reader was my goal that day. Each volunteer hoped to ignite a spark that would ultimately transform a casual page-turner into a life-long reader.
As new books found themselves into the bags of each student who came to shop, I could see their smiles as they browsed the table tops. That’s what volunteering at the Clinic was all about for me -getting kids excited about reading books. As I talked about various authors and explained book plots, I hoped they saw how much I liked books, and that my enthusiasm would rub off on them. It was an awesome experience and I look forward to volunteering again.