Daniella Zamorano entered her first year of teaching at Henry A. Brown Elementary School, located at 1946 E. Sergeant St.,with few resources to contribute to her fourth-grade classroom. Past teachers had taken their own book collections onto their new placements, and her room, 301, was left with limited reading resources.
“There is a library at our school but we don’t get to visit [often]. We visit twice a month,” Zamorano said.
In between these library visits, students are dependent on classroom materials for reading.
“I like to read a lot,” fourth-grader Nayeli Rosario said.
In a hunt to collect more stories for her students to discover, Zamorano started a search for cash donations or gently used books for the classroom. Creating a post on Donor’s Choose, a classroom donation website, was the first step. Due to budget cuts the school district was unable to provide these classroom materials for the new teacher. She said this is a common issue teachers face in low-income communities.
“I just want them to have books at their fingertips so they can read any genre, any level of reading, just to get them interested in reading. It’s hard to do that when you don’t have a lot of books,” Zamorano said.
Many students at the neighborhood school are behind their grade level in reading skills. Zamorano said she hopes that more books will help the fourth-graders improve. Students in the classroom said they are also eager to create a classroom library.
“I want to help my brain with reading,” fourth-grader Michael Woody said.
Room 301 has already received two boxes of donated books from Zamorano’s neighbors, and about $50 in donations were collected through Donors Choose. Zamorano said the book search continues in an effort to provide her students with as many options as possible.
“We read every day, a half-hour in the morning and a half-hour in the afternoon, “ Zamorano said.
Reading is an essential component in order for her students to move up in reading comprehension. Anyone interested in contributing to Room 301’s library can contact Zamorano directly at email@example.com.