Investing in our children’s future and the future of our community is one of the smartest investments we know. With that in mind, the Telemus team recently visited Bennett Elementary School on Mullane Street in southwest Detroit to deliver nearly 600 gently used children’s books we collected for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Our goal? To prevent “summer slide” by giving the students a great selection of books to read during summer vacation.
“It was so cool to watch their eyes light up,” said Matt Ran, who was among our team of volunteers. “What a great feeling to see the students choose their favorite books to take home. I actually found some of my childhood favorites among the collection.”
In all, about 50 students took part in the annual event known as “Lunch with the Principal.” Two students from each class were chosen by their teachers to attend the special lunch as a reward for outstanding attendance, academics and behavior. The children each received a certificate of excellence – then, enjoyed pizza, prizes, a cookie decorating station and more. Each student got to select 10 books from several tables that lined the hallway. The books were separated by age group and reading level.
Why is a book drive like this so important? Studies show that students can lose up to three months of reading skills over the summer if they don’t keep practicing. Continuing to read while school is out can prevent this from happening.
Here’s what the experts have to say:
- Students who read just 4-5 books over the summer show increased reading comprehension in the fall.
- Teachers can spend up to 4-6 weeks re-teaching skills that have been lost during summer break.
- Reading loss is cumulative. Students who don’t read during the summer can fall several years behind their peers who do keep reading.
“The day as a whole was very fulfilling and humbling,” said Michelle Kirk, a Telemus team member who helped organize the book drive and event. “Everyone who participated came back and continued to talk about how well behaved the students were, and how happy they all were to receive the books and to be noticed for their hard work.”
Thank you to our team, family, friends and the community for helping make our book drive a huge success!