Before Book Trust came to her school, Wisconsin teacher Debra H. Bell bought books for less well-off kids from her own pocket. And a recent touching message from an ex-student has shown just how much those free books meant. Here is her story:
I’ve been buying Scholastic Books during my entire 32 years of teaching.
In my school district, 52% of students qualify for free and reduced lunches. I always felt bad that some kids could order books and others could not, so I would pay for books for those with no money.
When Book Trust became available at my school [the program empowers low-income kids to choose and buy their own books every school month], I was very excited.
Now all my students would be able to buy books. They would discover for themselves the joy of choosing and then burying themselves in stories that were all their own.
These sentiments really hit home when a former student wrote me recently – I think she summed up my thoughts very well. Here’s what she said:
“I saw a post on Facebook tonight saying: ‘Who was your favorite teacher, and why?’
I thought of you right away! You were the kindest soul to me in that tender stage of life. It was clear to my little eyes, back then, that you were passionate about teaching. You instilled in me a love of learning which has led me to be forever a student of life.
One memory that has settled into my heart, was the shamrock shake reading contest. I remember we received prizes from the contest.
You awarded me with three (I believe) books from the Ramona Quinby series! It honestly touched my heart so deeply.
My mom was very poor. We had holes in the roof of the trailer we lived in. Horrible.
Anyway, she could never afford to buy me anything from the weekly Scholastic book order. So when I received those books, it felt like God Himself heard my little girl prayer for Ramona books!
This is the most vivid memory I have during that season of my life. Those little things helped me enjoy a good, healthy childhood. Thank you!”
If having those books affected just one former student in this way, imagine all the good that is happening now that Book Trust provides all our students with free books each month.
This is a life-changing program that is transforming many children’s educational outlook in a positive way.
My student said it best when she noted that she had a girl prayer answered. Just think of all the prayers that have been answered by Book Trust.
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