Our summer reading program is underway, and we could not be more excited. This year we are looking to make a bigger impact that in the past. We have partnered with Alta Vista Elementary School to bring our Kind Cotton Reading Program to all of their incoming Kindergarten students that are a part of Eagle Academy. Eagle Academy is an academic program to prepare students for success and help prevent summer learning loss. Children receive engaging instruction in their core subjects as well as have the opportunity to explore hands on learning experiences via field trips. When asked to be a part of their incredible program, the choice was simple for us!
As always when meeting a new class, I could barely sleep the night before. Will they enjoy my lesson? Have they already heard the book I chose to bring? As the thousands of thoughts raced through my head like a child trying to sleep the night before Christmas, I slowly took a few deep breaths and faded to sleep. Wednesday morning came, and I quickly gathered the books and the materials for our giraffe puppets and piled into my mom’s car to head to the elementary school. Still a nervous wreck, I anxiously knocked on the classroom door. As soon as it opened, I felt a relief. There is something so special about the energy of a child. Each one of their 4 and 5-year-old faces lit up when they saw me prior to even knowing who I was. We sat in a circle, introduced ourselves, and spoke of the things we love to do. I mentioned how much I loved to read and as our talking piece slowly made its way around the circle, one of the little ones expressed how much they loved stories being read to them. I obviously added some brownie points in my head immediately for him! After introductions, we sat down for one of my personal all-time favorite stories, Giraffes Can’t Dance. This may sound silly, but the best part of reading to a kid is seeing their eyes light up as you take them on a journey through every turning page. By the end they were cheering with excitement that Gerald (the main character) could finally dance because he found the music he loved. Immediately finishing the story, we created our very own Gerald the Giraffe puppets. All of the children took such pride in their work; many of them even named their puppets. My personal favorite was Rainbow. To top off the day each child received their very own copy of the book to bring home and the enthusiasm they expressed was priceless. Each so grateful and appreciative. Each child, without hesitation, opened their books. One little girl even propped her puppet up alongside a stuffed animal and began reading the story to them; cue the happy teacher tears!!!
As we packed up to leave there were two things on my mind. One, I could not wait to go back! We will be attending every Wednesday for the remainder of the summer and will be working with 50 students each time we go. Second, the gratitude we have toward every person who has followed us on social media, shared our message, or purchased one of our kindness items will forever hold a special place in our hearts. You are all the true champions of bringing literacy to children. Thank you will never be enough, but we will continue to express our appreciation as much as we can. Stay tuned for weekly updates to see how our summer reading program continues to grow!
Check out more pictures HERE