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Teacher buys 70 books with grant
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There’s no question reading is one of the most important skills schools can teach. A child’s future often hinges on their ability to read and understand what they’ve read. If a teacher can instill a love of reading at an early age, then their students are already a step ahead for the future, educators say.
Eastside Elementary teacher Joanna McNeal Carden understands the importance of encouraging students to read. She teaches reading and language arts for grades 7-8.
Carden says, “I think it’s important for there to be books in the classroom. It’s good for kids to have books all around them that they can go to anytime.”
Although Carden currently has a classroom library of 700-800 books, most of these were purchased second hand at yard sales or used book stores. She was thrilled to find she was a winner of the Book Love Foundation’s grant of $500 to be used to purchase new books.
“Penny Kittle wrote a book called Book Love and it is a teacher/professional development book about how to get your students to love reading in the classroom. After she wrote that book, she formed the Book Love Foundation and they decided in 2013 to do a grant,” said Carden. “I applied for that one and didn’t get it. In 2014, I applied again. I didn’t get the big prize of 500 books, like an entire classroom library, but I was one of the runners-up who got $500 to spend on books for my classroom.”
Carden was able to buy around 70 books from a list chosen for both popularity and literary merit.
The shipment arrived Monday and by Thursday all but 20 books were checked out. Some of those 20 had already been read and returned.
Carden plans to shoot for the grand prize by applying again in 2015. The application is long and time consuming, but Carden believes the benefit for the students is more than worth it. “They were like little kids on Christmas!”
To learn more about the Book Love Foundation, visit