Literacy Tools for Donner Trail Elementary

Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Ashley Perkins, Donner Trail Elementary
Grant Category
Grant Date

Literacy Bundle

The objective of this grant is to secure funding for literacy tools for the entire school. The items in this literacy bundle include a class set of the novel Wonder, a class set of Tucker's Countryside, picture books for social emotional themes, magazine subscriptions and the entire set of the Who Was/What was series.

We strongly believe that putting good books in the hands of young readers is essential to their overall love for reading and for learning. That said, the series Who Was  has also created two additional series called What Was and Where Was. These books are a great addition to our school library, which is a library fully created, organized, and managed by teachers within our classrooms. This series will allow our school access to books about people that matter, places students can begin to dream of traveling to, and explains what in relation to our Earth's history. Our students currently have a few of these books in our school and they are highly sought after. We are always tracking them down and trading them out. However, 10 books out of a 264 plus series isn't even a dent. These books are about engagement, purpose, meaning, and teachers will be able to tie them directly to content and activities in the classroom so they are utilized as a learning tool. 

Our school does not have a library or a librarian. As teachers we have done our very best to put high quality and engaging books into the hands of our students.  Above all else, the love for learning is the most important. That said, each classroom has a variety of books that we try to update and catalogue as best we can to mimic a library-like atmosphere.  It's a safe space for students to learn to pick books, read quietly to self or with a friend and we even hold book club meetings and literature circles in this space.  Throughout our continuing quest to expand our classroom libraries (where students do often travel to another classroom to shop a favorite shelf or find a suggested book which is great for our school wide relationships) we have found that we are lacking greatly in one genre, magazines. Much of what we read to mimic magazines is through the internet, which is fabulous, however, we think we are all learning that nothing compares to holding written words in your hands. Our school would like to purchase a one year subscription in the following magazines; Discovery Kids, ASK, Kazoo, OWL, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and National Geographic for Kids.

We would like to add 25 copies of both Tuckers Countryside and the novel Wonder to be used for guided reading in the fourth and fifth grade classroom. These novels support our instruction of reading strategies and connection with other writing projects. Both of these books have themes of  friendship and kindness. Novel studies bring a class together as they dive into the lives of these characters. 

Social and emotional support as well as character education are a crucial integration into the classroom. We would like to work as a team to select $650 and create a resource library for teaching themes in social and emotional development. These books will be taught in conjunction with our Second Step curriculum. Through the PLC, our staff will select a variety of age appropriate picture books to support our social and emotional development.



Benefits of Program

All students will benefit! Students in all grade levels at Donner Trail move to where their brains work. Oftentimes, we have 1st grade students in our  3rd grade reading group or 2nd graders in the 3rd grade math.  The best part is that kids move with ease and we blend in a way that students don't see it as moving but just as part of their day. 5th graders come to shop the other classroom libraries for a special title or share out with 2nd graders in my room the next best read for them and their parents. It's a family of learning. These books will be used in the same way where students can move and shop as needed for their ability, level, and interest. Teachers and parents will also have access to use these books for instruction or support. 

The benefit to students is having a variety of magazines to use for research projects, individualized reading, and for teachers to apply into the curriculum. Each type of magazine benefits a different interest group. For example, Kazoo is written for a female audience which "inspire girls to be 'strong, smart, fierce and, above all, true to themselves.'" National Geographic would reach our younger audience, many of which are outdoor enthusiasts, while Sports Illustrated for Kids has been an item our older male group has been asking for for years now. ASK won the magazine Gold Award for 2019 and really connects kids to science, math, and engineering. Our goal as teachers is to meet the needs of all students and one way to do so is providing high quality reading that dives into a variety of interests. 

The class novel sets will allow students to participate in guided reading activity around a shared text. This will help teach specific reading strategies to the fourth and fifth grade class. These books serve as the foundation for writing tasks, class projects, and discussions. 

The benefit of the picture books will allow our school to build a deeper social and emotional curriculum through the use of picture books. These books provide a special connection between the teacher and the student when they are read. They offer the opportunity for discussion around topics, theme weeks for social and emotional skills, and extensions into other subject areas.



Success of Program

Seeing students fall in love with these books is a sign of success.Success can also be measured based on how they are incorporated into large lesson learning experiences within the classroom in groups, book clubs, research project, written tasks, or teacher modeling. 


This grant will be implemented immediately. Andie at Word After Word has already quoted and spoke to the company that makes these series so we can go ahead and utilize these books as soon as possible. We will use these school wide. We are trying to build classroom libraries and would like to have a magazine wall for all students to pull for this resource. Teachers and students can take these books for any academic or extra curricular needs they have.Novels sets will be read in the fall and spring of next year with the students. The picture books will be used throughtout the entire school year. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

Yes. These is a grant that will allow ALL students and staff to participate in the use of this material.

All books are a one time purchase. In the future we will assess how these items were used and reevaluate which magazine subscriptions to continue. We want to get started and can move forward in the future with support of PTO or our own classroom funds.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$1370 - Who Was, What Was, Where Was Book Series with Shipping
$343 - $35 - Ask magazine $40 - Kazoo MagazinSports Illustrated Kids $20, NationalGeographic $30,Owl Magazine $150 - Discovery
$449 - Two Novel sets, Bridge to Terabithia (130) and Tucker's Countryside (220)
$650 - Social/Emotional Thematic Library of Picture Book
Other funding sources

We have and would like to start with this grant in order to analyze and make student driven decisions in the future on what to continue to purchase for the magazines. Our PTO this past year purchases new science books and a class novel set. 

File Uploads

We do not have the titles for the picture books available yet because if funded, we would like to set aside a special PLC for the development of themes, book titles, and connections to curriculum.