Each year, as our programs wrap up, WITS gives each student in our one-on-one volunteer programs a bag of four-five brand-new books. We hope that these books remind students of the time spent with their mentors and encourage them to read over the summer. We strive to give our students diverse books that they’ll enjoy reading again and again. Here are a few highlights of the books we’re giving to our students this May.
Our kindergarten students love humor, repetition, and stories about familiar places and experiences, so we’re particularly excited about “Jabari Jumps,” the 2013 Caldecott Medal winning picture book about a little boy overcoming his fear of trying something new.
Each year, we give some bilingual books to kindergarteners in our schools that have many Spanish-speaking families. This year, three out of five of the books are bilingual, including “¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!”
Sending bilingual books home with students is an important way to give more families the opportunity to read together at home. In addition to the social-emotional value of reading aloud to young children in any language, studies show that students who are read to in their home language have an easier time learning to read in English.
Funny Chapter Books
Even the most voracious adult readers have nothing on our second and third grade Mid-Day Mentoring students – these kids have been zipping through early readers, funny chapter books, and animal nonfiction this year. A few favorites in their WITSummer books bags are “Sofia Martinez: Lights Out,” “Jada Jones: Rock Star,” and “National Geographic Reader: Animals in the City.” (We think it’s cool that Chicago’s coyote population is highlighted.)
Besides books by their favorite authors, our top request this year from our after-school students has been for scary books! Our fourth graders and up will all receive either “The Jumbies,” or “Spirit Hunters.” The protagonists in each draw upon their heritage to face the supernatural beings that threaten their families and communities.
In addition to these fantastic titles, each student in grades 2-8 will receive at least one graphic novel. Graphic novels are tremendously beneficial for students: they often have complex narrative structures have sophisticated themes and require students to “read between the lines” when the illustrations allude to characters’ feelings, actions, time passing, and more. Graphic novels give students access to high-quality stories that they might not be ready to tackle without the support of illustrations. Most importantly, our students love them!
For more information, or the full list of titles, please contact Ellen Werner at firstname.lastname@example.org