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  • $752 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Ms. Younkin
Grades 9-12
Nearly all students from low‑income households
  • 8 donors
  • $0 still needed

How It Went Down: Taking Reluctant Readers to the Next Level

My students need 60 copies of "How It Went Down" to improve their literacy and help them continue to enjoy reading.

My Students

Two sophomore English teachers and I are working hard to turn reluctant readers into book lovers. I am the school librarian and the three of us create a team that is working with students who haven't enjoyed reading, who think books are dumb and getting them excited about what they read in class.

The majority of these students come from rough neighborhoods where luxuries are rare.

Many are African American males. Our school has almost 2,000 students and we have some of the richest of the rich students in our school district and the poorest of the poor. Our team wants to help level that playing field by giving these lower socioeconomic students with poor reading scores a chance to connect and love books. When given a story they find engaging, these students shine. They read, they discuss, they even ask for more reading time in class because they don't want to put their books down. That has been an amazing turnaround. We'd like to see that trend continue by selecting another title that will resonate with their lives. "How It Went Down" deals with a tragic shooting and there is no clear right or wrong. Our students understand ambiguity and will have lively, in-depth discussions related to this book.

My Project

The classes have already read three novels that they loved (and incidentally, their reading scores have gone way up). It is time for a new book and with tight budgets, we're hoping DonorsChoose patrons will help us purchase these novels. "How It Went Down" is a more challenging and complex book than the previous books these students have read. In this novel, there are different narrators who each have their own version of the truth about what happened at the shooting. Students will have to analyze the characters and situations closely. We believe our students are up to that challenge and we relish the chance to have them read this book, think deeply about their life choices and their environments while still enjoying the very act of reading. We have found that this group of students loves seeing aspects of their lives reflected in literature. C.S. Lewis said we read to know we are not alone. Books like "How It Went Down" let inner-city students know they are not alone.

Reading is absolutely essential to success.

No matter what career path our students take after they graduate, reading will be involved in some way. The testing our district does has shown that these students, who are historically poor readers, are making amazing gains in their reading scores. They are willing to read because they are interested in the stories. They are so engrossed in their books, they do not even realize that they are practicing reading skills. They are thriving.

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Hooray! This project is fully funded

Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
How It Went Down • Amazon Business $9.99 30 $299.70
How It Went Down • Amazon Business $9.99 30 $299.70

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Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


8 Donors


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8 donors8 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 180 students.

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