EXCHANGE: With help, teacher buys books for students
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — In an effort to put brand new books in the hands of her third grade students, Brooke Crombar asked her friends on Facebook to sponsor her kids — and, she got enough money to buy a new book each month for each person in her class.
The Thomas School teacher said she got the idea from another teacher friend. Crombar posted on social media asking her followers to sponsor one child (she was asking for a class of 20 total) to receive one book per month, at $9 each.
Her request was filled in two hours.
In a news release, she said the Scholastic book orders were always an exciting part of her school year — the company sends a flyer several times a year advertising books to students at different grade levels — but she knew that it wasn’t exciting for every kid she teaches.
“Many students know they won’t be able to order books, so the book order can be disappointing when they receive it,” she said in the release. These are the students she was thinking of most — in the release, she said that some kids check books out from the classroom library daily because they don’t have books of their own at home.
“It’s difficult when the orders come in your classroom and some students have a pile of books to take home, while others have nothing. Those students are likely to be the ones who need books the most,” she said in the release.
This started to change Sept. 10, the day the first order of books came.
Crombar said she left it a surprise that each kid would be getting a book from Scholastic every month.
“I couldn’t actually get them passed out fast enough,” she said of her students’ excitement. This month’s read was Megan McDonald’s “Stink Hamlet and Cheese,” which is part of a popular young reader series.
She said this program is made possible in part because of the $1 book options Scholastic puts in each flyer. She said each month all 16 students get a copy of the same book from this list.
While Crombar admits differentiation in education is crucial — the concept that students come at all levels and should be met there by their teachers — she’s happy because “it’s a book in their hands.”
Social media posts like Crombar’s were a popular trend among educators this last year. Crombar said it’s been wonderful to see the support, but said there’s a flip side — teachers are going to extreme measures and crowd sourcing in order to provide their students with the tools they need in the classroom. These tools aren’t fancy iPads and other pricey tech, they’re things like pencils, folders and glue.
Crombar was quick to point out this isn’t the district’s fault — they do the best with what they are given.
Spending her own money is so common to Crombar, she said she barely thinks about it anymore.
“Over the weekend, I spent $70 of my own money,” she said of getting supplies for her classroom. She said this shouldn’t be the case, but she does what she needs to do for the children she serves.
“I will get what kids need.”
Looking ahead to next year, Crombar said she would “without a question” be doing the book-a-month program and will be again trying to find a way to fund it. It’s all worth it, though.
One example summed up why. Crombar said when she told the kids they got to keep the books, she had one boy look at her and ask a one word question: “Forever?”
Crombar has been teaching for more than a decade and she said things like this still bring her to tears; she just hopes she can shed them privately.
Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/2NDz4qA
Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com