A friend/co-worker gave me a DonorsChoose.org gift card for Christmas.
I could donate my $25 to any school/classroom listed on the website.
There are so many schools listed. Just for schools in Oakland there are 207 and the ones I reviewed were all high poverty schools.
How did I choose?
This is how I narrowed it down. I wanted a school in Oakland, since I live in Oakland. I wanted a high poverty school and my money to go toward some sort of reading program. AND I wanted to grant the teacher’s wish by paying off what was left of his request, with my gift card and some of my own money.
In other words, I wanted the teacher and the classroom to get what they wanted and really, what they needed in the request.
The program was titled I Can Read! Mr. Cline teaches kindergarten and first grade and the kids stay with him for two years. On his request he said, 90% of the students are low-income, and 90% are English language learners. Most have not been to preschool, so I am their first exposure to formal education.
Mr. Cline’s request was for multiple books for each level of reader in his classroom, which included books titled Here Comes Little Chimp and Sam’s Picnic.
Mr. Cline meets the various reading groups at a reading table. He said, they are excited to see the book they will be learning that day and practicing over the next weeks. … My students love to read because they truly believe that they are readers.
Wow, I was won over when I read that. As a kid I loved to read and reading came easy for me. In elementary school I was three reading levels ahead of my grade. In junior high we had to do a book report on any book we wanted. I picked Jane Eyre. They next time I read that book was for a college literature class.
I used to be a mentor and worked with a girl who struggled with reading. Until I worked with her I never really understood the power of reading, especially for someone struggling with it.
I was already happy and excited about my choice when I made it. But the e-mail I received from Mr. Cline the next morning made it even better. I feel so lucky that I am able to help others love to read as much as I did and still do (even though I don’t read as much as I would like).