Sunday, February 19, 2017

Books for Babies

Several years ago, while teaching kindergarten, I started a service project with my students.  Our goals were to promote reading and to give one book to parents of newborns.  We called this project "Books for Babies."

In order to get books into the hands of new parents, we needed a supply of new or gently used board books.  Scholastic Book Clubs gives bonus points for purchases students make throughout the year.  These points are what I use to "buy" books for our service project.

I still do this project with my second graders.  Twice a year, at Christmas time and at the end of the year, we give a shipment of books to a nearby hospital.

First I collect enough books for each student in my class to give one.  I try to have some extras so that students have choice in what they give.  The students help make wrapping paper.  We also write letters to the families who will receive our gifts.  Each student writes a letter explaining the importance of reading and why you should start reading to your baby now.  They usually also tell what they like to read and often let the families know that they have been reading all of their lives.  (LOL!)

The students get to choose which book they want to give.  They, of course, read the book before they wrap it up.  This project gives us a chance to participate in a service for our community while developing our reading and writing skills in an authentic way.  I always provide contact information in the letters we send.  Frequently, we receive notes back from the families who receive our books.

It's really a pretty simple project to implement.  The students help earn the books by placing book orders through Scholastic.  We take one day to write letters and make wrapping paper.  We spend about 45 minutes wrapping the books and letters the next day.  Then I send the books to the hospital.  The students feel a great sense of accomplishment, especially when we get thank you notes from the recipients.

Do you do any service projects with your students?  I would love to hear about them!

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