For Students Who Don’t Know What A Bookstore Is (Literally!)
The cost of Therm-a-bind bookbinder, two 20-lb. packages of paper, and four termabind covers from the Quill Corporation and colored pencils from Nasco is $409, including shipping and <a target="new" href="http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm" onclick="g_openWindow('http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm', 300, 800, 'fulfillwindow');return false;">fulfillment</a>.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Hooray! This project is fully funded
“I want to be a poet or a novelist,” a seventh grader told me last year, “but I know that's impossible so I'll probably go into film.” When I asked her why it was impossible to be a writer, she gave me a cold stare and replied, “When was the last time you saw somebody buy a book outside of school?” I described Barnes and Noble to her and she looked at me like I was describing the lost city of Atlantis. After living in New York for twelve years, she had never seen a bookstore. No wonder she thought there was no future in writing!
I am a second year member of Teach for America teaching seventh grade English at MS 325 in the South Bronx, the poorest Congressional district in the country. 99% of the students at my school qualify for the free lunch program and the vast majority of them also failed last year's standardized exams. I think one of the reasons why they struggle in reading and writing is they see no context for these skills outside of school; like the seventh grader quoted above, many have never seen a bookstore. I want to teach my students that writing is a “real-life” form of entertainment and enlightenment by having them create picture books to read to elementary schoolers. When my students open their homemade books and watch elementary schoolers' eyes light up, they will understand why people write! This understanding will inspire them to work even harder on future projects.
For this project to work, my students need to create books that look like professionally published books. I want them to feel like they have produced something that belongs in a library. Luckily, the cost of bookbinding machines has come way down in price. A thermal bookbinding machine creates books with hard spines and you can buy enough book covers, binding materials and colored pencils for three separate bookmaking projects. I imagine a variety of audiences my students could address. For instance, we might read picture books to elementary schoolers; poetry anthologies to hospital patients; and family histories to people in an old person's home. My wildest fantasy involves us going to a bookstore in Manhattan to give a book talk to family and friends!
You can help teach a group of middle schools and elementary schoolers about what literacy is all about. Your generous donation will could convince seventh graders that there actually is a place in the “real-world” for poets and novelists. Since the bookmaking project incorporates community service, your donation will also make an impact outside of my classroom.
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