Getting Books Into the Hands of Students During the Pandemic

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  • ACPS has been handing out hundreds of books to students to encourage time off screens and on to pages instead.

    At Patrick Henry K-8 School this month, principal Ingrid Bynam joined Middle School Literacy Coach Kelly Miller, Elementary School Interventionist Michelle Hogan and Assistant Principal Andaiye Cammon for a drive-by handout to middle school students.

    Books to support the curriculum as well as pleasure reading were handed over to students and families.

    Feedback has been so positive that Ms. Miller now plans to set up virtual book clubs for students to participate in. 

    ”We just really felt it was important for students to have books at home to read during the pandemic and to get physical books into the hands of students,” said Ms. Miller who has even delivered a couple of books to students at home. “It’s important to get away from screens for a while and curl up with a good book.”

    She added, “We’ve had a great response. I’ve had many emails from students saying they can’t put the books down which is wonderful to hear.”

    Books were selected to ensure the diversity of the student population was reflected in the titles.

    “We wanted our students to recognize themselves in the characters they were reading about,” explained Ms.Bynum.

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  • On Monday, T.C. Williams High School library staff greeted students in the rain as they distributed 900 new books to ninth-twelfth graders.

    Thanks to a $1,500 grant from First Book, each student was able to select up to three books for pleasure reading. The 30 young adult titles included, “How Not to Disappear” by Clare Furniss, “Two Roads from Here” by Teddy Steinkellner and “See All the Stars” by Kit Frick.

    Librarians from James K. Polk Elementary School and Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School also had a selection of books to offer younger family members.

    Sixth grade Francis C. Hammond Middle School Student Genesis Pineda Alvarez swung by with her family and picked out “I Have Lost My Way” by Jacqueline Woodson.

    She said, “Reading helps people to stay calm and it’s nice to get off technology for a while.”

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  • Candace Pannell, library, media and instructional specialist helped to coordinate the giveaway.

    “We are trying to make e-books more accessible but there’s nothing like having a real book in your hands that you can make a physical connection with,” she said.

    All ACPS students in PreK-5 are invited to dress up as their favorite book character next Monday and come along to Patrick Henry Elementary School where even more free books will be available for collection between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.