Guest Blog By Anat Herzog, CES PhD Candidate
We don’t know his name, or his older sister’s, but it still moved us when he exclaimed “I love Dr. Seuss! Daddy can I take this one?” Our eyes giggled to one another as the boy clumsily pulled the Seuss work out of the book station we had just inaugurated. His sister found one too, and was proud to be like her brother, book held high above her head. Smiling, his father asked him which books he was going to bring back for other kids to take. As they walked away hand in hand, the boy, his sister and his father continued their conversation about books and reading. We were filled with a sense of gratitude for a moment that brought our vision of free neighborhood book stations to life. These seemingly unplanned moments where learning connects families, communities and each of us to a deeper self, are what we educators and future educators live for. This year’s Literacy Alive! project brought many such moments to the members of Chapman’s Chi Beta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi Honors Society in Education.
Each year, as a group of current and future educators, the chapters of International Honors Society in Education Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) connect around a national literacy campaign called Literacy Alive! This campaign happens at KDP chapters as universities across the world “create programs and events in their communities that bring empowering literacy skills to their participants.” This year, more than 150 projects were submitted nationally. This means 57,052 people were served and 44,625 books collected for distribution globally. As a chapter, Chi Beta was recognized for its partnership with a local initiative: Operation Literacy Engaging Everyone (Operation L.E.E.) in Anaheim, CA.
The book stations are located at various homes and businesses in Anaheim and represent a true community effort. A vision of local educators, the book stations are filled with donated books that anyone can borrow, take or donate. Operation L.E.E has started with five book stations and hopes to grow throughout Anaheim and other interested cities.
Our first adventure with Operation L.E.E. was at South Junior High’s Service Day where Chapman’s KDP members were tutored in making book stations by students. The woodshop teacher, Chapman alumnus Matthew Bidwell, university students around the classroom. Seventh and eighth graders made assistants of us and showed us their mastery of carpentry. As future educators, we talked about how it reminded us that our students will always be our greatest teachers and that our classrooms can be spaces for doing good. We also helped sort over 500 donated books, prompting a recognition of our community’s generosity and spirit.
In recognition of the success of Literacy Engaging Everyone (L.E.E.), KDP International awarded Chapman’s Chi Beta chapter with a Silver Award. As the project continues to grow, you can help by donating books, providing funds or materials to build more book stations, or volunteer to host a book station at your home or business (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)