How the AASL Inspire Grant Impacted My Students

I was recently honored to accept the AASL Inspire Grant, which was awarded to the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter Elementary School library. This grant will do tremendous things for the reading achievement of our students by purchasing brand-new books for our school.

My school is located in an urban setting in Buffalo, New York; nearly all students come from a low-income household. We also are a highly diverse school with many of our students from bilingual families. Our current elementary school first opened its doors for the 2017–2018 school year. Since the school is fairly new, the school library had to be built from scratch, relying on several donations of books. Many of our students do not have books at home, and oftentimes the only reading exposure they receive is at school. This grant has helped our library tremendously, providing $2,000 to be spent on new books for the students.

We have already used part of the money from the AASL Inspire Grant to purchase a mix of fictional and informational texts. Our school lacked many non-fiction books, and this grant has helped our school provide the informational books our students need to gain more knowledge on numerous real-life subjects. The informational books are leveled for each grade, making it easier for students to find books at their own reading level. The topics of the books vary from animals, plants, “Magic School Bus” adventures, animal habitats, the solar system, the human body, and biographies of famous people. This collection provides a wide variety of books for our students to read and become interested in new subjects. We also have a larger selection of books to choose from so students can pick a book that is engaging for them to read.

My goal as an elementary school librarian is to increase student literacy and technology exposure. Students will be able to borrow these books and read them at home to practice reading at any given opportunity. My hope is for my students to gain a love of reading and develop new interests through these new books. I hope the books chosen will impact my students’ academic vocabulary and build interest in the subject area they are reading about. My goal is for my students to gain more critical thinking and background knowledge from reading these books, which I hope will lead to a higher student achievement rate.

I cannot thank AASL and Marney Welmers enough for the grant. The purchase of these much-needed books for our students will greatly impact their reading and overall academic achievement.

I hope everyone has a wonderful school year from my school library to yours!

Author: Melissa Cortese



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