ClassroomsCare has been a helpful addition to my classroom this fall. Now that the school year is in full swing, getting readers excited for books is vital. As my readers start diving into great books and striving toward personal goals, it is amazing how fast they are devouring books. By using ClassroomsCare, we can keep track of our reading and stop for that moment of awe while we help Scholastic help others.
After logging on to the ClassroomsCare Web site, I have found that there are many helpful tools to assist my students on their quest to read books. Even though I use a different recording form for books read, I have decided to implement the ClassroomsCare reading log to allow my students to feel a stronger connection to their role in reaching our classroom goal. The book recommendation printable is another resource I have found helpful in my classroom. My readers are always looking for a good book, and this is a quick and easy way for classmates to share their favorite titles.
While searching the ClassroomsCare Web site, I was also excited to see the new changes Scholastic made this year. Having around 100 readers, in the past I felt participating did not provide my students with enough of a challenge. The new format this year, though, eliminated that problem. By utilizing the online version of ClassroomsCare, I was able to register my class and set a goal of 10 books per student. The online book tracking was also a great addition. Now my students and I log on to the site each week to enter our completed books and watch the total grow.
ClassroomsCare has also brought awareness of others and our responsibility to provide a helping hand to those in need. My students were able to watch the videos Scholastic has provided on the ClassroomsCare Web site to see how our reading will benefit others through the three charity partners. As they look at our overflowing bookshelves, it is important to remember that not all children are as fortunate as they are. Even though we may not know who will receive the books, it is a great feeling knowing that someone else will be able to enjoy the books that we have come to love.
While most people take clean, warm pajamas for granted, thousands of children right here in the U.S. go to bed each night without them. Instead, they just keep on the same clothes they’ve already worn for too many days and nights—clothes that are soiled, wet, and hardly their size. While volunteering at different shelters, I noticed the children who stayed there went to sleep in their regular clothes. I later learned it was because the children didn’t have any pajamas, and that some of the children didn’t even know what pajamas were. I felt strongly that these children deserved a loving bedtime, complete with pajamas and a storybook, just like I’d had as a child. In 2001, I founded Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides pajamas and books to underprivileged and foster kids to give them the bedtime all children should have.
Scholastic Book Clubs and ClassroomsCare heard my stories and immediately reached out to help. We agreed: Bedtime is an extraordinary time, a time for children to feel safe and to dream of wonderful things that can happen tomorrow, and to dream about what they can be when they grow up. The books complete a nighttime ritual that so many of us took for granted…when Mom or Dad said, “OK, get your pajamas on and I’ll be right in to read you a story.” The children of Pajama Program seldom hear these comforting words. Thousands of them live in orphanages, group homes, and shelters, and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. They are removed from school at the same time they are removed from a home. Often the books we give them are the only books they will have for months at a time.
Danger Season Brings the Chilling Nights
October 1 marks the beginning of “Danger Season,” the most difficult time for the children we serve. Temperatures drop at night and the children are afraid and lonely. Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of a mother or father tucking them into bed in warm pajamas and reading them a magical storybook.
Thank you, Scholastic—you are giving these children their dreams again, dreams of what magic tomorrow may bring and dreams of becoming anything they want to be when they grow up.