My students are determined to attend college and to be successful there. They know that they do not have as much access as other students in more privileged schools, which is why they devour every opportunity they have to acquire the skills they know they will need to be competitive. They ask questions, attend workshops, and stay after school for help and enrichment. Growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood where schools and households struggle, they choose to pursue a quality education in order to better their community.
Many of them are on the threshold between the comfort and safety of what their lives have always been and the uncertainty and adventure of what their lives could be.
They have a glimpse of the larger world in each of their classrooms - in science, in math, in English - but they long to experience for themselves all the possibilities that their teachers and their parents have told them are out there. They will do so with a resilience that they have spent much of their lives building.
Thanks to the generosity of donors here on DonorsChoose, my students and I have been able to gradually build a classroom library of entertaining, high-quality literature. My students love to read when they discover meaning and value in what they're reading, and oftentimes, that involves books that reflect their real-life struggles and how people like them can overcome these struggles. Sometimes, their love of reading comes from the sheer pleasure of escapism, entering a world unfamiliar and thereby challenging what they've always thought to be true. Eventually, students graduate from reading for pure entertainment to a more in-depth study of what they're reading, but first, I have to get them reading.
We need help to continue building our classroom library so that there are enough choices for every reader in our classroom and in our school.
I want my reluctant readers to have the opportunity to grow as a reader and, consequently, as a learner, and I want my voracious readers to never run out of material. Adding these books, such as Trevor Noah's Born a Crime (Adapted for Young Readers), Jacqueline Woodson's If You Come Softly, and Tara Westover's Educated, would continue to add to the diverse and enriching voices that I would like my students to be exposed to as they prepare to enter the world beyond high school. Hopefully, in attending to these voices, they continue to clarify and develop their own.
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