My students need 25 copies of "Breadwinner" and 10 copies of the books "First Part Last", "Up From Slavery", and "The Pack".
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” those are the famous words of Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, and I believe that I can achieve this with the necessary tools and nurture the potential in each of my students. As a special education teacher to 9th and 11th grade students with learning disabilities and behavioral issues, I am determined to help them overcome their obstacles. In order to promote success in the lives of my students, I need books that connect to their life experiences, and that challenge their reading level. The books will reflect the reality my students face in their respective neighborhoods, but also encourage them to further develop their potential academically. My school is located in one of the toughest neighborhoods and many of my students struggle with difficult choices, which force them to unwittingly not value their education.
After reading Fences and Our America, students who normally refuse to read or who are at a lower reading level became engrossed in books that mirrored their everyday world. They began to critically assess their worlds and openly and honestly discussed the issues facing their communities through essays and shorter written assignments. My students were always engaged in the topics that the books presented, that portray their lives. In order for this interest to continue, I need to provide my students the opportunity to read about what matters to them, books they can connect to.
As an urban schoolteacher, I constantly focus on building relationships with students. Having the necessary resources to foster an academically challenging environment is difficult to create if the resources are not available. I allow my students to read books that connect to their lives, primarily the African American experience. I want to give them an array of choices, from The Pack to The First Part Last. These books students will read are filled with dynamic themes, such as overcoming adversity and dealing with complex racial issues, and high literary quality. These books will enable the students to be, do, think, or act differently as a result of reading these books. My own education has taught me that if I want my students to read, I need to give them a proper balance of freedom of choice, books that connect to their lives, and books that challenge their reading level.
Reading is important for success in everything students do. Education determines one’s future, but access to the best education starts with the best resources. Being awarded this grant will make a marked difference in how my students learn, and further engage students in the learning process. Students will find the joy in reading if they have a choice in what they read. With your support, you can “light the fire” of a child’s imagination and empower them to succeed, as Yeats envisioned. As an educator, I take the words of Yeats seriously, and try, to the best of my ability, to instill a curiosity for learning in my students.
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|Breadwinner Deborah Ellis • Barnes and Noble||$8.05||25||$201.25|
|First Part Last Angela Johnson • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||10||$62.90|
|Up from Slavery Booker T. Washington • Barnes and Noble||$5.39||10||$53.90|
|The Pack Nikki O'Neill • Barnes and Noble||$14.35||10||$143.50|
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