Fifty-four second graders at Bethune Elementary School in Minneapolis just received a surprise bag packed with books, word games, crayons and stickers. This was made possible by Assistance League Minneapolis/St. Paul who, along with 120 chapters nationally, is taking part in Action Week to celebrate their founder’s birthday and their mission of transforming the lives of children through community programs.
Assistance League recognizes that students who are good readers have a greater chance for academic success. The Assistance League Literacy+ program was created to help improve students’ reading ability. In a typical year, Assistance League member volunteers meet weekly with students as a part of the Assistance League’s Literacy+ reading buddy program. They read one-on-one and play educational games with their second grade ‘reading buddies’ focusing on reading skills.
This year due to the pandemic, Assistance League member volunteers had to pivot to find a new way to encourage the love of reading and adapt their Literacy+ program to meet the needs of the Bethune Elementary second-grade teachers and students. Assistance League worked closely with the second-grade teachers at Bethune to identify how they could best support their students during this unusually challenging year. The idea of bags including new books and activities to support reading emerged.
To bring this idea to fruition, Assistance League members sourced the items, packed the bags, and delivered them to the teachers at Bethune Elementary. Teachers then distributed the bags to their students. When they opened their bags, the second graders found the books My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World,Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool, and the Really Fun Activity Book for 7-9 Year Olds as well as crayons, Valentine’s Day stickers and a word search puzzle.
This is the third book bag the students have received. Over the course of this school year, each second-grade student will receive thirteen books and many fun activities as part of this initiative. To further support the teachers and students, Assistance League is also providing a subscription to a weekly online social studies magazine selected by the teachers. Both teachers and students have access to the magazine as well as additional content and activities.