Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rereading and Reviewing The Read-Aloud Handbook - Chapter 6: In Their Own Words

The "In Their Own Words" chapter is one of my favorite chapters of The Read-Aloud Handbook. It's full of touching testimonial letters from Read-Aloud fans, testifying about how the book changed their lives. My favorite letter is from a rich guy in Minnesota who wanted to do something for the schools. The guy created NERF (Nisswa Enhanced Reading Foundation) and he raises money as well donating out of his pocket to do the following for his local schools:

* Beautiful Books: Fancy, expensive books are sent home for reading aloud by families
* Classroom Libraries: Every teacher gets $250-$300 a year to build their class book collections. New teachers get even bigger grants because they're starting from zero.
* Incentive Reading Room: A room of paperback books where kids can go "shopping" for reward books.
* March Madness: A contest for "most out-of-school reading minutes" that results in more book prizes for the winners.
* Rainy Day Bookstore: NERF has an account at the local bookstore and if one of the teachers needs a certain book on short notice, they can just go get it.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every school in the country had these kind of literacy programs in place? There was recently a tragic situation at a local public school. It's been discussed in detail on a mom list I subscribe to and a  public teacher piped in to explain that in that area of the district, things are in such chaos so much of the time that it would be easy for kids to fall through the cracks. Her email made me so sad. No matter how much teachers and parents work to improve schools, isn't there just a massive budget crunch that's holding our schools back? I don't have the solution, but I hope that collective action of some kind--if not higher property taxes, perhaps just more of the initiatives described above?--can make a difference for all our kids!


  1. :) I need you to please do a post on how you store all of your books. My own book storage situation is getting out of control, and I need some help.

  2. Ha! Our house is torn up right now b/c of construction project, but when it's back together I will totally photograph some stuff for you. We don't have much room either. The bookshelves in the garage is really the secret!

  3. Bookshelves in our garage would risk weather issues. I store my detergents out there, and a few weeks ago when I brought in dish soap it was frozen.

  4. Oh my goodness! Our dish soap solidifies sometimes but that's only because I make it myself and it's weird. :)