I teach in a PreK - 5th grade public school district in southwestern South Dakota, near the Badlands and the Black Hills. We are a rural area - bordered on the north, east, and west by the Rosebud Indian Reservation and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Nebraska Sandhills to the south. Many of our students face difficult situations at home and school becomes their safe haven.
Despite the challenges which accompany a small rural school with low socioeconomic status, my students bring boundless positive energy and determination for learning into my classroom every single day.
Their eagerness to grow and expand their knowledge is what fuels my passion for teaching. Many of my students begin the year at least a grade level behind, so it brings me great joy to experience their successes, no matter how large or small.
I strive to introduce my students to a wide variety of authors, genres, and interests with the books I choose to read aloud. Earlier this year, I read my students the book The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown. They absolutely loved the book and always pleaded with me to read 'one more chapter' each day when our read aloud time was over. The kids would talk about that book, the characters, and the events constantly! They were hooked!
When we reached the end of the book and I revealed that there was a Book 2, they all screamed with delight and BEGGED me to get the book so we could read it right away.
At the time, I told them I had a few other books I wanted to share with them first, but I would do my best to find a copy of the book for our class read aloud.
With recent COVID-19 events, our school was closed. Students have not been in the classroom since March 12. I am concerned that my students will not get nearly the same opportunities to continue learning to read; they will miss the entire 4th quarter, a critical final 'victory lap' in the milestone year for reading in 2nd grade. It will be a very long 5 months until school starts again in August, and my teacher heart aches at the thought of all the regression that may occur if students aren't reading much until then. Most of my students do not have books in their homes to read for enjoyment. I would love nothing more than to surprise them each with their own personal copy of this book. As a teacher, it would bring reassurance to know my students are reading something they love.
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