Today’s blog post is from Jenny Helber. Jenny is a parent volunteer at Bonne Ecole Elementary School located in Slidell, Louisiana. She has created an initiative entitled the ‘Twelve Books program’ at her children’s school. The program ensures that the children in her community have the access to books they need to succeed.
How does a school address the “summer slump” and ensure that when the school’s doors are closed, the opportunity to read is not closed as well? Bonne Ecole Elementary in Slidell, Louisiana came up with the idea to create the Twelve Books program which gives emergent readers twelve self-selected books to take home and keep on the last day of school.
Funding this project on a small budget and relying on outside support were the biggest challenges faced in the initial year. Thanks to First Book and funds raised from grants and community donations, Bonne Ecole’s Twelve Books program served 130 students (every first grader), distributing 1,561 books for a total cost of $3,300.
Highlights from the first year of Twelve Books’ included a week of celebrity readers, a book fair, and the year-end Twelve Books for Kids event where students received a bag of books in the style of an Oprah show giveaway.
According to first grade teacher Susan Schwaner, “you cannot imagine the incredible anticipation, excitement, and desire of the students to have twelve books of their own to read over the summer.”
The impact of giving kids access to books is demonstrated in feedback from parent Diane Ripley who said her son, “was so excited to show me the books he chose…and this is my son who ‘hates to read’ as he says almost every time he has to read.”
If you want to make the kind of difference Jenny made at your local school, talk to your child’s teacher, librarian or reading specialist about First Book and help them get signed up today!