Summer Literacy Backpacks bring Reading Joy to Winter Days

Engaging Students served in the ESOL Program in Reading

The CCSD ESOL Office is actively working to foster the love of reading for students served in the ESOL Program. Last summer, students received a Summer Literacy Backpack filled with carefully selected, high interest fiction and non-fiction leveled readers, a workbook to help them prepare for the coming year, and a parent guide. Students have continued to enjoy the books throughout the school year!

On a recent winter day, Armeen Mokha, a fourth-grade student at Addison Elementary, decided to bring a little warmth to the chilly day by re-reading her favorite book about mammals. Last summer, Armeen was one of 3,500 CCSD elementary and middle school students who had received a wonderful surprise in the mail: A Summer Literacy Backpack filled with just right reading books! The high-interest books were specifically selected by staff in the CCSD ESOL Office based on students’ reading and language proficiency levels. Local school ESOL teachers worked hard to verify home addresses and contact parents to let them know that the books were on their way to help students who had been learning at home practice their reading during the summer break.

Armeen and her fellow students took full advantage of the extra reading practice. They share how much fun it was to read their books at home during the restricted summer, and they have reread the books during the winter months. Armeen explained, “I read all the books and loved them. The one about mammals was my favorite!” Other students also expressed their love for the books and reading. Sid said, “These books are more interesting than ice (a topic that fascinates him). These books put information in my brain!” Yuvraaj shared in his peers’ thoughts, “The books were very interesting, they make you learn.”

Helping students build a personal reading library to build content knowledge and support their English language development was the goal of the initiative. “It was our goal to disrupt the disruption of the pandemic and keep our students engaged in learning by providing kids with good, old-fashioned books they could enjoy at home, share with friends and siblings, and read to their parents. It’s terrific to see that happening!” reflected ESOL/Title III Supervisor, Dr. Elizabeth Webb.

Addison Elementary ESOL teacher, Charlene Piper, is excited that her EL students are engaged and enjoy reading in and out of school: “They are increasing content vocabulary and background every time they sit down with a book,” she commented.

The ESOL Title III Department looks forward to continuing to help local CCSD schools ensure that students learning English become avid readers.

Dr. Elizabeth Webb
Supervisor, ESOL & Title III

Contributing Author: Dr. Arleen Folorunsho, ESOL Consultant

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