Thanks to Sunnyvale School District’s community partner, Reach Potential Movement, there is now a bookshelf in nearly every home for Bishop kinder families.
This is the fourth year that the nonprofit has brought the literacy project to the school. On Oct. 1, more than 60 volunteers worked with just as many families decorating and customizing their own bookshelves.
Families arrived in the morning and were divided into different groups. While one group attended a parent workshop underscoring their important role in supporting literacy at home, the other group assembled their bookshelves by picking the color of the drawer to go into the shelf, letters for their names and other decorations to personalize it.
Participants also received pencils and a pencil sharpener to store in their drawer and were able to “shop” for their own books to take home. Each student was able to choose 10 books to add to their personal library.
“A lot of our students don’t have access to the public library because of transportation so they often tell the teachers they don’t have books at home,” said Bishop kindergarten teacher Alice Kawasaki. “This gives them the opportunity to go “book shopping” so they can also pick out their own books for keeping.”
Many of the students are elated to learn they get to keep the books to put in their newly acquired bookshelf.
“Some of my students were really excited because they have a place to store their books and are excited to add to their collection, which is so sweet,” Kawasaki added. “Having them engaged and being aware of print helps open up their eyes to reading and with reading it opens up to everything, for math and science and writing, it goes all across the curriculum.”
Amadeni Guzman, Reach Potential Movement staff member, said this is one of her favorite events that the nonprofit puts on. Reach Potential Movement operates out of the Gateway Neighborhood Center in Sunnyvale.
“It’s very engaging and the students are very happy; to make it even more special, we keep all distractions away by having child care so that it is only the kindergartner and their family member. It’s just a very nice environment.”
When they leave at the end of the day, they leave with about $50-$60 worth of books and materials, not to mention large smiles on their faces.
Guzman, a product of the Sunnyvale and Fremont Union High school districts and of the Reach Potential Movement afterschool program, said it is her personal mission to make sure families come learn about the other services at the Gateway Neighborhood Center.
“When I was growing up, it was really hard to learn the language first then try to do homework,” she said having been a former English learner. “Then I started getting help through this after school program and now I am the first in my family to go to college. I want families to know that this place is here and that it is possible to send your children to college.”
The Gateway Neighborhood Center is located at 477 N. Mathilda Avenue.
Article by Alia Wilson, District Communications Coordinator.