20 May IMPACT: Being able to give books to all your underserved ESL students
We had such a huge response to our last IMPACT blog that we are going to follow up with another one. This one comes from an ESL teacher in Middlesex County. Below, she explains the IMPACT of being able to provide books to all of the ESL students – on her, her colleagues and, ultimately, the students and their families.
Hi, My name is Audrey Oldoerp, ESL teacher at East Brunswick High School. I was first introduced to Bridge of Books a few years ago by friends, Kathleen Brown and Janice Havay, who were both involved in the organization and told me about how Bridge of Books provides free books to children in need. When I heard about what they were doing for children in New Jersey, I not only was amazed, but thought that the children in my own classes could benefit.
At that time, I was teaching elementary ELL students in East Brunswick, and was helping to organize a Literacy Night event for our K-12 students. In the past when I had organized previous events, I would ask friends and neighbors if they had any extra books at home that their children had outgrown so that I could give some books out to the children for free. I was able to collect a few books, and provided them to some ELL students at this event. I was happy to see how excited and grateful the children and parents were to receive a free book. There were certainly
not enough for everyone, but the seed had been planted about how important it is to put a book in the hands of a child.
After being introduced to Bridge of Books, I was able to coordinate with the volunteers to pick up books for our ELL Literacy Nights. I was so impressed that they not only had books for us to give to our students, but that the books were sorted by grade and reading level. They gave us books for every different kind of student in our ELL program – grades K-12, and all appropriate for our learners. You can’t imagine how appreciative I was to receive boxes and boxes of books for not only my own students, but for all the ELL students in my school district. I was overwhelmed.
This year, once again, when organizing our Literacy Night, I passed the torch to my colleagues, and they were able to receive books from Bridge of Books. We were so happy to have a station where each child could pick out his or her free book and watch the children and parents smile and thank us in appreciation. This time, I was even more appreciative to see even my high school students find books for themselves!
These books are cherished items for many of our students and will be read over and over and passed along to another child. It sends a message to our ELL community that literacy is important and that a book can be a game changer in the educational experience of a child. I can’t say enough how grateful my colleagues and I are to the donors and volunteers at Bridge of Books. We understand that you sacrifice many hours to collect, sort and organize all the materials you receive. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our students say thank you as well. You make them feel important and valued. Every book you put in the hands of a child changes their future. Thank you for all that you do for our students and for all the children in New Jersey