A Shipment: From Start to Finish

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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.

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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.

What a Night!

Dear A to Z Supporters,

Thank you for being so very generous. Thank you for showing up and filling the room at Park Place on Saturday night. Thank you for supporting our mission and for helping us make a difference in the lives of many marginalized children. Because of you, we were able to raise $7, 142!!

Thank you for valuing the power of literacy both here in Crystal Lake, Illinois and far off places like Lusaka, Zambia. You understand the important role books play to inspire and to liberate young minds.

Thank you for being so charitable in your giving and joyfully participating in our annual fundraiser. And most importantly, thank you for helping our organization to grow and thrive over the last eight years.

Faces of Zambia

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As the A to Z team has been reflecting on our recent visits to Shine Zambia Reading Academy and School of Hope, I thought a blog of photos would be fun to share. We are extremely grateful to you, our supporters, and without you, our work in Zambia would not be possible. Thank you for believing in our mission and thank you for your continued support of helping to increase literacy levels in impoverished communities.

 

 

 

A Few Words From Vineet Bhatnagar, Founder of Shine Zambia Reading Academy

“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

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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.

The Gift of Books and Reading

By Betty Trummel

As I took a look at my tiny class Christmas tree last week, I saw the gift of books and reading for my 30 students. Each package under the tree contained a bright, shiny, new chapter book.

I thought about so many children around the world who don’t have new books or any books at all. In many places literacy is not the reality of everyday life.

The work we do as part of A to Z Literacy Movement is on a small scale, but it is mighty. I’m thinking back to our trip to Zambia this past June, and how exciting it was to see gently used and new books in the hands of the children and teachers at the Village of Hope and at Shine Zambia Reading Academy.

We’ve given the gift of books and reading to so many, just as I have in my 36 years of teaching. How can you help give the gift of literacy this holiday season?

Transformation Baby Steps

By Kalan Gott

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The Hungry Caterpillar is a well know children’s book documenting the days of eating precede a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. Not only is it a cool book because of the pictures (and that tiny hole in the food on each page that shows you where the caterpillar ate), but because I’ve decided it is a metaphor for a child’s relationship with reading. Just so you all know, I didn’t ask Eric Carle about this metaphor.  I’ve just decided it is a thing from watching my 8 month old daughter begin her relationship with books. Like the caterpillar, she is hungry. Yes, of course, for actual foods. But also for books, letters, language, and the delicious cardboard they are printed on. Even though she is just knawing at the pages right now (literally so hungry for knowledge that she is eating the pages of the books), she is already starting to play with turning the pages, looking at the pictures, and laughing at the onomatopoeia. I am excited to see her blossom (not into a butterfly- that would be too Kafkaesque) into a reader who engages with the words and stories of fabulous writers. For now it is baby steps, but one day…

Count Your Blessings (and your books!)

r-READING-PILE-OF-BOOKS-large570By 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.