Monday, July 21, 2014

Help tenth-graders become readers!

I teach tenth-grade English at a public high school in the South Bronx. I love my job because of my students, who are kind, thoughtful, and unthinkably resilient kids who all want a satisfying and stable life. The biggest obstacle between my students and success is literacy. Without strong reading and writing skills, graduation and college admission become impossible dreams. To raise literacy, we need an enormous supply of engaging, diverse texts, a library where any student can find a book that they can't put down. In the last year, I have worked non-stop to build the only classroom library in our school, collecting from willing publishers, friends, and other schools. I'm happy to go anywhere I can in/near New York City to add even a book or two to our classroom, and the result has been a classroom already full of books, and a tenth-grade recognized by the school as an impressive cohort of independent readers.

There will never be enough books for my students - the more we can offer, the better our chances of getting every student, especially our reluctant readers, to find a story they love and invest in the reading they need to do well. So please, anything you can offer is deeply appreciated.

Anyone can help! Here are possible ways you could:

1. If you're in New York City and have even a book or two (or more!) that you think high schoolers might enjoy, e-mail me! I'm happy to come collect anything. If you are from out of town but interested, e-mail me and I will let you know when our next DonorsChoose project begins (hopefully in the next week).

2. Recommend books you think teenagers might like & tell me why. I spent a lot of the summer reading books in the hunt for ones that I know my kids will like.

3. Let me know about non-profits/organizations/people who might be able to assist. We have benefit hugely from organizations like First Book and the Cicero Project, and I'm sure there are other great places ready to give books to schools like us that I don't know about!

Anything is appreciated - take a moment to think about whether you can help us out! For the thousands of you not in New York City, if you (like my family) have shelves of books no one reads anymore, consider finding the school near you that wants them - there definitely is one!


Sabine Chishty
schishty[AT]bla2hs.org
New York, NY

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