As former educators, we here at The Generation Project are ashamed to admit that we were unaware until recently that March is National Reading Month.1 My own excuse is that I was always distracted by the fact that March is also National Screw Up Your Bracket By Picking Notre Dame To Go To The Final Four Month.
Having discovered that March is National Reading Month, though, we thought we would take the opportunity to feature two reading-related gifts that donors have recently implemented through The Generation Project's pilot program. For those of you who don't know, our pilot program has been implementing a limited number of donor-designed gifts in Detroit and New York City schools in advance of our official launch, and two of the March gifts implemented through the pilot program explicitly shared with students the gift of reading:
Amber Hermosillo--Gift of American Girl Books (Implemented in Mr. Piekara's Sixth Grade Class, Bronx, NY):
Growing up, Amber's favorite books were those in the American Girl historical fiction series. Because those particular books sparked Amber's passion for reading, she decided to purchase a complete set of American Girl books for a high-need urban classroom. Amber's gift was implemented in Evan Piekara's sixth grade classroom at I.S. 162 in the Bronx. Judging from the photographs that Mr. Piekara sent to us, it seems clear that there are a number of young readers in his class that share Amber's love of these particular books--and will hopefully go on to share Amber's lifelong love of reading. Photographs of Amber and the kids, in montage form, below:
Duffy Fitzpatrick--Gift of Magic Tree House Books (Implemented at Wayne Elementary School, Detroit, MI):
When Duffy's son was in elementary school, she read through the Magic Tree House book series with him. The series--which follows the time-traveling adventures of a brother-and-sister duo--teaches children about both literacy and history. Having seen how her own son loved gravitated towards these books, Duffy decided to donate two full boxed sets of Magic Tree House books through The Generation Project. Duffy's gift was implemented at Wayne Elementary School in Detroit. Watch the video below to see how three third grade students think about reading--and why they are looking forward to the Magic Tree House books:
Both Amber and Duffy's gifts speak to a real need in many American schools. It is virtually undisputed that reading is absolutely key to academic success--but students will never develop a love of reading if they aren't exposed to books that capture their attention and their imagination. And, unfortunately, many schools simply don't have enough textual diversity in school or classroom libraries. That's where donor-led philanthropy can come in: most people that love reading can name certain books that grabbed their attention growing up, and chances are, there's a kid out there who's going to gravitate towards those same books as well. Donating a book, or a set of books, is an inexpensive way to make a personal and profound diffference in kids' lives.
Happy Reading Month from The Generation Project.
1. An interesting sidenote--National Reading Month does not start until March SECOND, because that is Dr. Suess's Birthday. I personally think this is awesome.