If you remember last week I shared the vision and goal of Riverbend Elementary to give each of their 400 students five physical books by the end of the summer. You can read my post here.
Well, so much happened in a week!
What I didn’t know when I shared last week is that Riverbend Elementary didn’t just give kids a couple of books in a Walmart plastic shopping bag, the Riverbend Elementary staff prepared an extensive READING KIT for each student to take home for the summer. I get emotional when I think about the Reading Kits because it is truly an act of love and example of the passion educators have for their kids and the importance of getting books into the hands of kids and their families during the summer months.
Earlier this week, I stopped by Riverbend Elementary. My kids and I showed up unannounced to donate books. Principal Wiggins graciously gave us a great tour of how her hardworking staff were packing these Reading Kits. Keep in mind, these dedicated teachers were doing this on top of the end of the year parties, Kindergarten graduations, and Award ceremonies. I saw them hustling to pack books for each individual student. They carefully selected books that were age-appropriate for the children to read.
Riverbend Elementary staff were SO VERY KIND to me and my children. As you all know, I have three children under 5 years old. It’s nothing short of an adventure when we go anywhere. But, the Riverbend Elementary staff were so kind to us. When we showed up, we had no idea the Kindergarten Graduation was going on. Nevertheless, From the front office to the teachers we met, we were warmly greeted. This is a staff who LOVES kids and it shows. Even the exhaustion of the end of the school year could not dampen the excitement these educators had for their students.
The Summer Reading Kits were so impressive. Each student was given a beautiful and hardy bag. Inside the bag were a stack of FIVE age-appropriate books for each student and a folder. The folder held information about the Get Georgia Reading Program (the digital reading program), several reading logs, a reading related bucked list, a letter to the parents from Principal Wiggins, and information for participating in our local county’s library summer reading program. This bag was a treasure trove for reading! If you remember, Principal Wiggins had a goal of 5 books for each student. Well, they collected and distributed 2000 books! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE ACCOMPLISHMENT!
Riverbend Elementary created Reading Kits that would set up their students for success during summer break. Not only that, these Reading Kits have set the parents up for success too. Even if the kids and families don’t go to the library or utilize the digital reading program (which I hope they do it ALL!); if they just read those 5 books, that’s FIVE solid books kids and families are reading together. The Reading Kits could be the key that opens up a world of reading for children and their family. That bag full of reading goodies introduces families to a wonderful screen-free activity that not only enhances their family time, but also sets their kids up for success in the upcoming school year. Reading is so powerful and life changing!
When Principal Wiggins gave me a tour, she mentioned how she had just come out of the Kindergarten Graduation. In the graduation, when she told the parents what they were doing with the Reading Kits, the parents and families cheered. Hearing that, showed me that parents are excited about what Principal Wiggins and her staff have created. They’ve thrown open the door to possibility of reading in a very tangible way and the students and families are excited!!
As we walked around, I noticed my kids were getting so excited. The stacks of books and the reading logs were drawing my kids in. It was like the Pied Piper; they couldn’t help but gravitate towards all the books! Principal Wiggins graciously gave us reading logs and we will be utilizing them this summer!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the numerous book donations Riverbend Elementary received. Principal Wiggins showed me her office which was PACKED and overflowing with books they had collected for their students. If you donated books to Riverbend Elementary, THANK YOU SO MUCH. You helped make these Reading Kits possible. Thank you for investing and believing in the importance getting kids reading!
Every time I think about Riverbend Elementary and what they accomplished in providing summer Reading Kits to their students, I can’t help by grin from ear to ear. I also can’t help but get weepy too. The vision for these Reading Kits, combined with the hard work of the staff to pack them speaks so highly of the Riverbend Elementary School Educators. I’m so thankful to have met Principal Donna Wiggins. She and her staff are a treasure and our school district is so fortunate to have them investing in our children.