Hurrah for the Wisconsin Wonder Teachers

A group of ingenious teachers in Wisconsin are squeezing an extra bit of goodness from Book Trust – and using it to help even more kids at their school.

It’s a universal truth that torments us here at Book Trust: No matter how much you do, there’ll always be more people needing your help.

So even though we’ll help 50,000 low-income students choose and buy their own books throughout this school year, there are countless others that we won’t reach.

Ten million of them, in fact.

No, pick up your bottom jaw; that’s a fact. You see, Book Trust focuses on helping children within the K-5 age range, of which ten million are currently living in poverty in the USA.

Extra va-va-voom!

So it’s especially heartening to see a group of teachers at Tiffany Creek Elementary School in Boyceville, Wisconsin have hit on a genius idea.

Basically, the inventive bunch have found a way to take the support Book Trust already provides and add a little more va-va-voom to it, all by themselves.

To explain how, it might help to quickly outline how Book Trust works. So here goes:

  1. Book Trust uses the Scholastic Reading Club flyer (remember them from your own childhood?) to provide books for 50,000 K-5 aged kids in schools across America.
  2. Each student is given enough money to buy two/three books every month.
  3. Much like airline miles, Scholastic provides bonus points for books teachers purchase.
  4. These bonus points add up allowing teachers to buy 100-200 additional books per year.

 Big idea

Teachers often use their bonus points to buy books and classroom materials such as book bins, reading stations and science kits, which is great.

But at Tiffany Creek, some of the teachers have decided to use their bonus points – which is a big number – to buy books for older students at the school who aren’t covered by our program. (Given its finite resources, Book Trust focuses on helping students in Pre-Kindergarten through third grade at Tiffany Creek.)

Essentially, the teachers are using the extra points to create their own mini Book Trust program for older kids at their school.

Delighted students

Reading Specialist Holly Sweeney said, “It all started last year with a suggestion from one of my colleagues. She said: ‘I’ve got all these bonus points and don’t know what to do with them. Should I give them to the older class across the hallway?’

And that was that. It was a runaway success. My colleague felt she’d done something extra special with her bonus points, and the older kids and their teacher were just delighted to have all these free books.”

Like all good ideas, once it was out there others started to joined in. This year, quite a few teachers at the school are donating their bonus points to colleagues from older classrooms.

Organic growth

Holly said, “I love how this fabulous idea has grown organically, from teacher to teacher throughout the school. It has been so nice to see it take root and grow.”

“We live in a poor, rural area – our school has a 50 percent poverty rate – and the nearest town is a 20-minute drive away. There simply aren’t many opportunities for kids around here to get their hands on books, so Book Trust has been a real game-changer,” shared Holly.

“And now, thanks to the inventiveness of our teachers, we’re making that goodness spread a little further.”











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