A Student Teacher Did All This!
Say hello to Melissa Damiani, a student-teacher at Stetser Elementary School in Cheser, PA and a senior at Widener University. Melissa saw last summer that her assigned school didn't have a library, and she decided to do something about it.
She contacted BookSmiles for donations and initiated a drive in Washington Township where she went to school. Pitman pitched in as well. Her friend built some shelves, and here you see a library, featuring several hundred books, for kids at Stetser!
Amazing job, Melissa!
A BookSmiles Branch In Glassboro
We are thrilled to have Renee Seabrook Hart, a basic skills teacher at Thomas E. Bowe Elementary School, establish a BookSmiles branch in Glassboro, New Jersey! She is partnering with Mary Aruffo, a talented teacher I met over the summer. Since they started a few weeks ago, Team Glassboro has sourced nearly 1,000 books, and every elementary school in town is a collection station.
Teachers like Renee and Mary are powerful agents who will spread literacy by inspiring others to harvest millions of books throughout New Jersey. Teachers and students will put books into the hands and homes of hundreds of thousands of children and babies.
Here are pics of Glassboro High senior Nimra Younas sorting, Renee and me posing at Camden County's International Day, and Renee speaking at on behalf of BookSmiles at the NJEA.
Turkeys and Books
We were so excited to distribute over 500 books when Lindenwold High School collaborated with Bethany Baptist Church to supply turkeys and fixings to those in need.
BookSmiles' power comes from being embedded in the schools, activating students and teachers to collect, sort, and distribute books to the babies and kids in the districts we serve.
The Need For Spanish Books
Spanish and Spanish/English books are in very high demand by ESL teachers. These books are lures that get many Spanish-speaking parents reading to their kids. WE CAN'T GET ENOUGH.
We are grateful to have a partner like the Camden County Pop Up Library that provided us with a case of Spanish children's books. I was able to pass several along to Tangika Rouse, an elementary school teacher at Winslow's School #1 whom I had met at the NJEA Convention.
Take a close look at the titles we're holding. Please donate so that we can purchase more.
BookSmiles at the NJEA Convention
How thrilling to have presented BookSmiles at the 2018 NJEA convention with Renee Seabrook Hart and Jane Arochas, two teachers respectively starting branches in the Glassboro and Vineland school districts. The beauty of BookSmiles is that our model is easy to replicate among staff and students in underserved districts. I can attest that Lindenwold has sourced over 84,000 books since we started in September 2017
Once BookSmiles gets embedded into a Title 1 district (60 % free/reduced lunch or greater), students will no longer feel badly if they can't afford books at Scholastic Fairs. Most of our books are like new! BookSmiles enables families to build 100-book personal libraries for their children at no cost.
A couple dozen teachers were thankful to take home sets of popular titles (Magic Tree House, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, Dear Dumb Diary, etc.) put together by our own Jim Ward.
Spreading Literacy In Lindenwold
Last Thursday, Lindenwold High School freshmen distributed books to the little ones across the street as Elementary School #4 let out. They helped put 900 books into the hands of 500 children and parents in 20 minutes!
BookSmiles is all about helping families build personal libraries for their babies and children, many of whom don't get the chance to select books at Barnes and Noble or Scholastic Book fairs.
Thank you for helping spread literacy through book donations and financial contributions. Check out the video to feel the EXCITEMENT!