My 8th graders live in a city that was once filled with bustling mills and factories and was a beacon of hope for immigrants pursuing the American Dream.
Our city now faces socio-economic hardships.
The ones most affected by this are the children; 59% qualify for free or reduced lunch, 70% qualify as having high needs, and 20% has a first language is not English.
Despite these hardships, our community is a family first community; a place where our students feel safe and cared for. Our school is a community PK-8 School where many of my students' younger siblings attend, and where most of my 8th graders have been learning for all of their academic lives.
As we are entering the holiday season, it is a time of the unknown for my students. While most children excitedly wait for presents, my students often become anxious because they are not sure what Christmas morning will bring. My students have each selected a book that they would like in our class library. Little do they know, that if all books are purchased, they will be bringing their selection home to keep.
When my students select a book for themselves, it is one small way they can empower and advocate for themselves.
Sending my students off to Christmas break with a new book is one way we can brighten their holiday.
This opportunity to own a personally chosen piece of literature fosters a love of reading and reminds them what they do have control over, no matter how minor it may seem. In an environment where the unknown is looming, possessing a book can make all the difference.
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