I am a teacher at a adolescent psychiatric unit, Adolescent Institute for Behavioral Health, for students in grades K-12, regular and special education, in a rural area of Pennyslvania. This provides high-intensity treatment and interventions to children and adolescents in secured psychiatric hospital, Schuylkill Medical Center-South while also continuing their education. The number of students I serve flucuates daily, but usually it is about 10 students and sometimes up to 14.
A donation towards the purchase of children's books will help my students educationally and emotionally as well. Reading is important because it is a daily part of life for everyone. Reading has functional and practical purposes and enjoyment value.
Currently, I have a small library cart that holds about 300 books that are at least 40 years old. Many of the books are out-dated, tattered and worn thin. I would like to fill this cart up with new, bright, interesting and up-dated books for the students I serve.
Reading is important for so many reasons, but for my students who are often experience economic disadvantages, family hardships and self-esteem issues it becomes vital. Reading helps my students minds mature, grow and become imaginative.
My students come to AIBH because they are in crisis and realize they and their families need help. They may have thoughts of harming themselves or others or have experienced horrible trauma and need help to deal with the anxiety of their situation. When my students use reading as enjoyment they not only get the educational benefits, but the social and emotional benefits. They learn to turn to books as a coping skill. As a staff we all try to show the kids that developing coping skills can help elevate stress and deal with their issues rather than acting out.
I have seen that developing good reading skills develops higher self-esteem. Some students will often dread reading assignments when they struggle with the mechanics of reading and that can result in displays of negative behaviors in the classroom setting. Having a diverse library of book I can use these materials to teach decoding skills, improve fluency and comprehension all the while lifting a child's self-esteem.
The success my students will experience will not only be educational but life long, because reading is essential to our way of life for function and happiness.
Thank you for considering the students I serve.