I put together a video of photos from the first month of Vatia Reads! This is an absolutely incredible program that our students LOVE! Our school has a population of about 70 students in grades 1-8. We average 40 students coming to each session on Mondays and Wednesdays. Every morning, I average 18 students coming in to exchange their books for new ones. We could run a successful program 5 days a week if we had the manpower to do it, as students ask daily "Is there Vatia Reads! today?" It breaks my heart to tell them no on our off days.
The power of one blog post explaining the book situation at my school and asking for donations of books has led to something incredible. I thought that perhaps two or three people would fill up a flat-rate box with old books laying around the house, but you all amazed me! You, my blog readers, have contributed to a library of over 700 books! I am grateful everyday for the love and support you have given my students and me. Being able to share these resources with the Vatia community through my outreach program (Vatia Reads!) is an incredible experience. Vatia is a ... unique... place. Your books have helped improve the lives of the children here, giving them something to share with each other, to talk about, to look forward to, to cherish, and to enjoy. As you'll see at the end of the video, I've come upon students reading in the most beautiful places, students who might otherwise be out causing trouble or simply sitting around the house. One of my toughest 3rd grade students (I teach 3rd grade science in addition to my 4th grade class) just lights up at the opportunity to come to Vatia Reads! He wrote a Thanksgiving card to me, thanking me for the program. I, in turn, have to pass that thanks on to all of you. When the emotional roller coaster that is teaching in my village is on an uphill climb, Vatia Reads! is part of the chain that grabs onto the slipping cars and pulls them up and over the peak. This video is intended to show you a bit of the excitement on the children's faces, some of our activities, and to be a tribute to your support. Thank you all for inspiring this amazing part of my life.