The WITSummer Books Campaign has historically been one of the most exciting initiatives for the WITS community, as participation helps put books into the hands of WITS students as they wrap up the school year and embark on summer vacation. Book ownership creates a sense of pride, encourages year-long reading, and allows students to share their favorite stories with their friends and family. WITSummer Books (WSB) is a celebration and culmination of our students’ growth as readers during their school year in the program.
While the school year didn’t end as anticipated, WITS has continued to be there for our students. Through the WSB campaign, we were committed to providing students with curated sets of brand new, culturally relevant books, extending learning beyond the school year and creating pride through ownership.
According to We Need Diverse Books, in a survey of 2,000 schools, 90% of educators believed children would become more enthusiastic readers if they had books reflecting their lives. Everyone deserves access to books that reflect their own experiences, which is why WITS curates a selection of books culturally relevant to our students around the city. Take a look at what’s in the WITSummer Books bags this year.
WITS Staff returned to the office in June (two at a time) to sort and pack over 5,000 books for 1,100 students, which were intended to be distributed at the end of the program year. Books were packaged according to grade level: preK-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-and up. Once they were sorted, various team members delivered them to eleven Chicago Public Schools, which had been designated meal pickup sites for CPS families during the shelter in place order.
Over a period of a few days, these drop-offs became short and very sweet visits with school staff, administrators, and even a few students with their families! Amid virtual or curbside graduation ceremonies, final grading, and school year wrap up, WITS was able to briefly reunite with some of our most treasured school communities to distribute the entirety of our WITSummer Books.
Chicago Public Schools are home to some of the most hardworking, innovative, and resilient members of our city, and WITS is so proud to continue our partnerships in new ways during this time. We hope that the books will be a source of creativity, imagination, and fun for CPS students this summer.
WITS thanks the Chicago Public Schools Department of Literacy for helping us safely deliver books to schools in June. Through their book distribution network, we will ensure that Chicago students continue developing literacy skills and a love of reading over the summer.
Take a look at the slideshow below to see shots from the book deliveries!