Newsletter << All NewslettersJun 17, 2015
The Home Library Effect: How One Milken Educator is Transforming the Lives of At-Risk Readers
BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Students in Milken Educator Justin Minkel’s second-grade class at Harvey Jones Elementary School display their brand new books, which they’ll take home as their very own.
Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,
As the school year winds down and you say goodbye to the students you’ve spent the past year inspiring and educating, you might start to wonder, “What new strategy or project can I embark on next year to help improve my student’s lives?”
This week’s newsletter is all about such a project that stemmed from a rather simple idea in one classroom to a strategy that has expanded to other schools and is impacting the lives of thousands of children, many of whom live in poverty.
Milken Educator Justin Minkel (AR ’06) thought one of the best ways to combat illiteracy for students in need would be to help them build home libraries. Since many children who live in poverty have few books at home, providing them with books—and a growing library—could potentially change their world. He was right.
“When I began the project, I was amazed at the impact on reading development, family literacy and love of books,” Justin writes.
“One of my second-grade students was reading at a kindergarten level, and no one in her home was literate. She made two full years’ reading growth that year. When I asked how she had done it she said, ‘Well, you know those books you gave me? Now when my mom and little sister and I are watching TV at night, they say, ‘Melinda, read to us.’ So I do.’”
What started with one classroom became a third-grade project with three other teachers and later expanded to 13 teachers at Justin’s school— Harvey Jones Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas. Plus, educators from all over the country have reached out for ideas on starting their own home library projects.
Web Writer & Content Manager, Milken Family Foundation
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In this newsletter: Justin Minkel (AR '06)
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