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March 7, 2018

Kids helping kids: First-graders donate nearly 4,000 books

Reading Partners Silicon Valley was the lucky beneficiary of the efforts of a classroom of first grade students motivated to help other kids. A teacher in Saratoga started the tradition of working on a project that combines reading, writing, math, and philanthropy. The class organizes a book drive for Reading Partners students that collects thousands of books—this year, the number totaled 3,930 books!

The first-graders mobilized school support

One of the most special elements of this project is the work that the students do to promote, execute, and count the books for the book drive. The first-grade class made colored posters to advertise the book drive around their school and gave presentations in other classrooms. All of the students in the school then brought books to the first grade classroom to count, sort, and donate.

To count all of the books they collected, the class practiced counting by tens. They arranged the books into groups of ten and put an “X” on a chart for each group of ten books. Ultimately, the first grade class of fewer than twenty students marked 393 X’s, or 3,930 books.

They learned valuable lessons about generosity along the way

All the students in the first grade donated some of their own books to the book drive because they know that many students in Reading Partners “don’t have books and can’t buy them.” One student explained:

We are giving the books to kids who didn’t have books or couldn’t buy books

These young readers also know how important it is to have books for practicing their skills. “If you keep on reading and reading,” said one student, “then you get to read more books with more words in them.” Many of these kids even have the same favorite books as many of the Reading Partners students—mutual favorites included Dr. Seuss, Elephant & Piggy books, the Magic Treehouse series, Pete the Cat, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Some advice from the experts

When asked about how other classrooms could replicate this project, this classroom had some advice…

From asking other people to donate books to looking through the books that you have in your house to “going around the world with posters,” these students certainly knew the key to success for book drives. “Put on a presentation!” one student suggested; their teacher also advertised the book drive in their school newsletter. “It takes a community of many,” said their teacher.


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