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Mrs. Tervel from Clarksville TN is requesting Books through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Elephants in a Room: Building a Classroom Library

My students need books because "reading is oxygen for [their] future success." Through stories I want students to "tune the words they find to who they are."

  • $576 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

My Students

"Thank you, thank you, Mrs. Tervel, for choosing an interesting book for us to read. Usually in school,  we read boring books. I actually read this entire book."

I wanted to cry because that's what all of us English teachers hope for: positive words that show they loved the book or the book touched them.

She was a freshman honors student who showed me through those words that honors students need to be pushed and motivated to read just as much as any other student.

One of my sophomore boys who struggled all year with keeping up with his assignments and sporadic attendance surprised me one day and said he read ahead of the assignment. "I was so interested in this chapter on Olivia. I know what she was going through. I was a foster child, too." Those words pierced my heart. As much as we prod and question our kids, we don't know everything about them. These were the words he spoke in front of his classmates.

My students--my kids--always show me hope in some way. I may have to work harder with some, but always, always they will show me their heart in some small way.

My Project

It's no secret that students just do not want to read. In fact, in our country the senior level Advanced Placement Literature test just released their scores. For the second year in a row, the scores have dropped. Only "47% had a 3 or higher." This continuous drop is showing us teachers of lower grades one thing: students are not reading. They are bored. They lack stamina. Simply put: they hate reading. So where do I begin?

As a teacher at the starting line, I'm here to motivate, encourage, and cheer on my students to become lifelong readers.

I need to make reading relevant for them using a fresh new approach: using books that will engage them and keep their interest. I want to incorporate mini book clubs in class for kids to discuss these stories with each other. I want them to grow through my personal nudging into novels they never thought they'd read. I want to connect ideas with books they're interested in what is happening in our world. I want them to become excited with their novels and want to explore more.

Titles such as "All American Boys" in which a young African American boy questions his identity, or "Henrietta Lacks" whose cells have helped create the polio vaccine, but yet her family is on welfare, or Kwame Alexander novels whose words float off the page and mesmerize even the most reluctant reader, or even John Green novels (the modern John Hughes of teens) who help teens find their identity are all stories that can change the apathy towards reading.

Literacy is a growing problem in our country. I just want to be at the finish line celebrating their realization of how "reading is the oxygen that has made them and will make them successful!"

Mrs. Tervel
Grades 9-12
More than a third of students from low‑income households

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks • Amazon Business $13.99 4 $55.96
Eleanor & Park • Amazon Business $9.71 4 $38.84
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference • Amazon Business $12.67 3 $38.01
Long Way Down • Amazon Business $12.59 3 $37.77
Dear Martin • Amazon Business $12.59 3 $37.77
The Crossover (The Crossover Series) • Amazon Business $12.29 3 $36.87
Rebound (The Crossover Series) • Amazon Business $11.72 3 $35.16
Solo (Blink) • Amazon Business $10.50 3 $31.50
Forever Changes • Amazon Business $11.99 2 $23.98
An Abundance of Katherines • Amazon Business $7.99 3 $23.97
Looking for Alaska • Amazon Business $7.47 3 $22.41
Hate List • Amazon Business $11.05 2 $22.10
All American Boys • Amazon Business $6.98 3 $20.94
Deadline • Amazon Business $6.98 2 $13.96
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity • Amazon Business $6.44 2 $12.88

Materials cost


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Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


3 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Excluded support for DonorsChoose


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Project Activity

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