Last year, the Westchester Education Services team began an initiative where each month, one team member selects a project from the DonorsChoose website to fund. The funding requests are submitted by public school teachers from all across the country, and cover a wide range of items sought to improve the learning experience for the students.
This month’s submission was chosen by Megan Overman, Senior Editor, ELA & Humanities.
Name/Location of School: KND Elementary School in Brethren, MI
Teacher’s Name: Mrs. Wardie
Grade Level: 3-5
Subject (if applicable): Reading
Tell us about your DonorsChoose.org project: This project will provide TOON Graphic Novels and a student guide to comics to a classroom library for readers in grades 3-5. The graphic novels will offer students more variety in their reading selection, and will help foster a love of reading in visual learners.
Why did you select this project?
I am a huge believer in the notion that if we expect children to love reading, we need to let them read what they love. Nothing frustrates me more than hearing an adult tell a child that the kind of book they like isn’t the “right” or “best” thing for them to read. Whether it’s a bias against genre (fantasy/sci-fi, for example) or a preference for text-based books over graphic novels, it makes me cringe every time. We need to treat reading like the fantastic and personal experience it is, rather than merely a chore or milestone on a checklist. The surge of graphic novels in schools does exactly that. It makes reading more inclusive, opening the doors for a student who may otherwise have said they were “not much of a reader” to thrive and learn to love reading.
This project excited me because I saw it as an opportunity to directly help classrooms of children connect with stories. My fondest memories of grades 3-5 involve using my freshly polished reading skills to dive into multi-book series and tear through story after story. I hope helping fund this project provides even a spark of that for the next generation.
If the teacher has contacted you since their project was funded, please share their comments:
Dear Westchester Education Services,
I have requested the TOON books because they are an important necessity in our classrooms. I am new to 4th grade and we are building a classroom library that includes a variety of genres and at all different reading levels.
We will use these materials to make ourselves better readers and writers!
My project will make a difference because these are things my school can no longer buy due to budget cuts, and I can’t afford to buy it all myself. Thank you!
How did it feel to be able to help fund this classroom’s project?
It feels fantastic to help fund the expansion of a classroom library. I can’t think of a better way to foster a love of reading in children. As a lover of fantasy stories, who often struggled to find the kind of books I preferred in the classroom library, I hope this contribution will provide students with reading options that speak to them and make them feel confident about reading.
Visit the DonorsChoose website to select a project that is significant to you and will have a powerful impact for deserving students.