A donation would greatly help my students in their efforts to achieve their learning goals. Currently, I teach in an Urban school setting that houses approximately 690 students. We serve a very diverse population of Hispanic, African American, Caucasian and Asian children, with the majority being Hispanic and African American. 100% of the student population receives free breakfast and lunch, with an after school program that serves some students dinner. Washington Elementary also has many English Language Learner classrooms, where many if not all are identified as intensive and at risk in the area of reading and writing. These children are at least two years behind their peers in surrounding school districts.
I have developed a true passion for teaching reading to young learners who have been identified as “below grade level,” and who are required to receive intensive support in this area. This desire led me to my Graduate studies in the area of Early Childhood Literacy where I graduated and have been using this new knowledge to help my students succeed. Incorporating reading comprehension, phonics, fluency, phonemic awareness, etc... into my daily schedule is a top priority. With the differentiated levels that are present in my classroom, it is difficult to locate materials on a regular basis that can be used to fit the needs of each of my students. Even though I have a second grade classroom, I have students whose needs range from Kindergarten to third grade. Our Core Reading Program is designed for children who are performing on grade level. Each year, I am able to use this Program for only a handful of my children, with the remainder of my students receiving differentiated instruction from other resources. These resources are limited, which makes it truly a challenge for me to find children's literature to plan with and deliver appropriate instruction.
In addition to limited teaching resources, my student's are in great need of trade books that match their reading levels. Having a classroom library for children to self-select books from is a critical part of our learning day. Children "book shop," and then hold on to these books to read for the week. The books must match their reading level, or advancement in this area cannot take place. The books in our classroom library are limited, which leads me to either buying books myself, or going to the public library to borrow books to make up for what is lacking in the classroom. I also purchase an online membership to a reading program where children can read books via the internet as well, but it is still not enough. These children truly enjoy reading, especially when they crack the code and finally begin to feel success. Having additional books for our classroom library would help greatly.
As you can see, having additional teaching and learning resources would have a great impact on helping these young learners succeed. Working to make sure our young children achieve proficiency is dependent on the consistent resources and teaching practices of the adults in their lives. With many of my students having illiterate parents, it is necessary that they receive as much exposure to reading as possible while at school. Having additional resources would ensure that these young learners would have texts to practice at home with as well. They would need picture books that are on their independent reading level where they would not need an adult at home to help them. It is unfortunate that these children must take on the responsibility of learning to read without their parent(s), but with the proper teaching that is taking place in the classroom, coupled with "just right" texts that they can practice with at home, then they will be able to work toward their goal of becoming proficient readers. A donation would greatly help my students in their efforts to achieve their learning goals. We would be beyond excited and grateful to receive such a gift.