Category: kindle classroom project

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What the KCP Means to Me:

Bryant | Oakland, California

7c363d8e3c966597f90311d14d81d236favicon If I had to identify the exact point in time when I started to actually like reading, I’d say it was somewhere around fifth grade, when my rather annoying 10-year-old self discovered the magic of Harry Potter. (Ha, see what I did there? Magic. Get it? It’s funny.)

Though I was obviously far too young to really appreciate the nuances of J.K. Rowling’s writing, I enjoyed it nonetheless: I loved Harry, I loved the Wizarding World, I loved how the adults in Harry’s life thought repeatedly sending a minor into life-threatening danger would be a good idea.

After that, being the little ambitious fifth grader prone to delusions of grandeur I was, I decided to set out and prove to the world that I was the most avid reader ever. When that aspiration crashed and burned just like every other dream I’ve ever had in my life, I decided to lower my expectations and settle for just being an avid reader.

Because I file everything not strictly related to academics into the “more or less useless” information part of my mind at the end of every school year, I can’t tell you exactly what impressions the books I read in middle school left on me, but my fondness for reading grew at about the same rate the acne of my classmates’ faces did during those days.

After hearing that more or less useless account of my reading history, I think I can safely say how pleased I am to be part of the Kindle Classroom Project without sounding like I’m only saying it because I’m obligated to do so (which I am) and being insincere with my words (which I’m not).

I’m antisocial and introverted, and no love of reading can fix that, so I don’t particularly enjoy having to go to the library. I don’t like having to awkwardly stand there while a librarian checks out my books and silently judges me on my selection. Now, with the Kindle Classroom Project, I don’t have to!

While I’m not one of those kids from the part of my generation who have trouble returning pencils they borrow (at least, I don’t think I am), I somehow still feel much more at ease having a Kindle on hand instead instead of, say, 732 physical copies of all the books in the KCP library. It’s much more convenient and easier for me now to make use of and appreciate my literacy with the Kindle.

If I feel like reading a book, I can just click on the title and wait a minute or so for it to download. If all the digital copies of the book are checked out, I can simply request another copy online instead of being put on some library waiting list, which, granted, only happened to me once at the Oakland Public Library, but the waiting list was 40 people long and made the task of finishing my summer reading list more cumbersome.

If I feel like reading into the wee hours of the night because I didn’t feel like I read enough during the day, I don’t need to turn on the light to see what I’m reading; the Kindle is the light! Of course, reading in the dark while staring at an LCD screen isn’t the best way to take care of your eyes, too, but I already wear glasses, so the worst thing that can happen to me from reading a Kindle at night is eye fatigue.

Because of the KCP, my love for reading has flourished and ignited in ways I never thought it was capable of before. Why, just a few months ago, I decided to read Pride and Prejudice on my Kindle just for the hell of it. Yes, I may not have understood half of the book, but I would have never even considered checking out a physical copy from the library. If my growing passion for reading was a fire, then I guess you could say my Kindle was… kindling for that flame. (See what I did there? Again, nothing? Come on, it’s funny.) favicon

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A teacher’s book recommendation, plus a trip to the library, leads Gonzalo to a book he loves

my bloody life

favicon Many of us don’t entirely understand the power that teachers have to encourage young people to become engaged readers.

Gonzalo is a ninth grader at City Arts & Technology High School in San Francisco. Gonzalo’s ninth grade English teacher, Brittany Pratt, and his Reading Lab teacher, Marni Spitz, have built a strong culture in their classes to promote independent reading.

Yesterday, Gonzalo and his peers visited The Mix at the San Francisco Public Library and had time to check out books for the summer. To prepare for the field trip, Ms. Pratt arranged with SFPL to ensure that all students had library cards. In addition, earlier in the week, Ms. Spitz recommended several books to Gonzalo.

It looks like the library visit went well. This morning (yes, a Saturday morning), Ms. Spitz received this enthusiastic email from Gonzalo:

Hey Ms.Spitz thanks for the recommendation of the book “My bloody life” I absolutely love this book it’s so amazing and intresting I already read 50 pages in the span of an hour and that’s the most I’ve read in a day my whole life so excited to read more and possibly finish the book before I we go back to school Monday and share all about the book with you thank you again love this book so much!!!!

My experience says that it takes just three or four books (ideally in a short period of time) to change forever a student’s interest in reading.

This seems fairly easy — but it’s not, at all. For this transformation to occur, three crucial ingredients need to be in place: (1) Access to a ton of good books; (2) Teachers who have read widely and know how to recommend the right books to the right students; (3) Students who trust those teachers, who let them in, and who take a risk to follow through on their teacher’s recommendation that reading is for them.

Great work, Gonzalo, Ms. Pratt, and Ms. Spitz! favicon

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Upgrading to the Kindle Oasis? Donate your used Kindle to students in the SF Bay Area!

favicon I admit it: Though I have no reason to, I’ll be buying the new Kindle Oasis.

Kindle Oasis 3

My Kindle Voyage is fine. And so is my Kindle Keyboard. But I’ve owned every single Kindle since the Kindle 2, and there’s no stopping me. Despite the steep $289 price tag, I’ll be getting an Oasis when it comes out later this month.

It turns out that I’m not alone. A couple days ago, I read that 41 percent of Kindle sales come from current Kindle owners. This means that there are millions of used Kindles in people’s homes across the country, ready to be given away — to partners, children, grandchildren, and friends.

In case you’ve already saturated your friends and families with your previous Kindles, you should consider donating your latest device to students in Oakland and San Francisco.

I run the Kindle Classroom Project, a program that promotes the love and power of reading. Students get a Kindle and anytime access to a library of 730+ books, along with the right to request new books they like. With the KCP, students read what they want, where they want, whenever they want.

Kindles encourage young people to read more because good books are always in their hands.

If you’re interested in donating your old Kindle, check out testimonials from students and teachers. And once you’re convinced, head over to the Donate page to take the next step. Thank you for donating your Kindle, and enjoy your Oasis (as will I)! favicon

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What the KCP Means to Me:

Laurin | Oakland, California

Laurin-KCPfavicon I have had my Kindle for about 2 months and I love it. At the beginning, you don’t know what to read because there’s so much to choose from. Choosing just one book seems impossible — well, it was for me!

I love the Kindle program because it allows you the opportunity to choose among hundreds of books, books that you probably wouldn’t be able to read because you can’t afford them or you can’t find. The KCP is a great opportunity to read a variety of books, from romance to comedy. Any genre you want to read, the Kindle has it.

I really have enjoyed my Kindle, I have been reading series over series since I got my Kindle. My reading speed has increased because of how I have being reading over this month. I have cried, laughed, and even gotten mad when I read, and that is because reading has become such a constant thing that I read many books with different plots. Each plot extends my imagination and allows me to grow as a reader.

I recommend the Kindle to everyone. It’s such a great device. You just get so much enjoyment from just one tiny little thing. Because of the Kindle, my passion for reading has returned, and I am more eager than ever to read as many books as possible in one day. By far the Kindle program is AMAZING. Everyone should try it! favicon

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What the KCP Means to Me:

Grace | Oakland, California

facebook-picturefavicon I’m really glad I get to be a part of the Kindle Classroom Project! When I first heard about the Kindle Classroom Project, I thought it was an awesome idea that would give students opportunities to read throughout the school year and would offer easier access to books for students who do not have the time to check out books at libraries.

As a student, and especially as a senior, I am always busy. I have to juggle work while balancing my busy schedule at school and outside of it. However, I enjoy those precious moments where I can kick back, relax, and read on my Kindle.

During Spring Break, I was surprised how much of a bookworm I’ve become. I’ve been reading so many interesting books (such as Legend and The Young Elites by Marie Lu). I’ve been a huge bookworm in the past, but I’ve never really had time to read because I was preoccupied with other stuff. It would also be a hassle to go to the library and borrow books.

My Kindle, however, feels like a mini-library that I can carry around anytime: in my backpack, my purse, or in my hand. There is a huge library full of books to choose from within my Kindle, and I’ve discovered so many interesting books to read!

Thanks to the Kindle Classroom Project, I have rediscovered my joy of reading! I thank the supporters and teachers who have made the Kindle Classroom Project possible! Thank you for your support! favicon

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What the KCP Means to Me:

Brittany Flynn | Oakland, California

Stock-KindleI am just starting out as a KCP teacher, so my kids are just getting started on their Kindles. However, it has been great to see how quickly they’ve latched on and gotten excited about their new devices. They are reading during down time in classes, and I am particularly excited to see a lot of my students benefiting from the features that Kindles offer. My students have IEPs (individualized education programs) and can have challenges in reading. Features such as the dictionary feature as well as audiobooks really augment students’ ability in and enjoyment of reading.

Ed. Note: Brittany is a KCP teacher in Oakland.

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This is Kindle #700!

IMG_20160224_155304favicon The Kindle Classroom Project has reached 700 Kindles. Here is Kindle #700, donated by Dan (New York, NY). Thank you!

It seems like just yesterday that the program passed 600 Kindles! (And here’s the post from when the KCP hit 100 Kindles.)

The Kindles keep streaming in — 47 so far in February, 47 last month, making that 94 Kindles in the first 55 days of 2016.

The previous record for February was 14 Kindles, set last year.

I just checked my donation records, and 59 individuals have contributed the 94 Kindles so far this year. Some people donate multiple Kindles, and one sustaining donor took advantage of a recent $39.99 Amazon sale for new Kindle Fires — and purchased 27.

Kindles are arriving from everywhere — Virginia, California, Missouri, Washington, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Maine, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New York, Arizona, Ohio, and a number of additional states.

Nearly all donations begin with generous people making a simple Google search about how they can donate their used Kindle. I continue to appreciate the trust that every donor gives me to take care of their Kindle and give it to a student.

What next? The obvious question is, When’s 1,000? It’s impossible to say, right? No one really knows. But my thinking is that it’s not entirely crazy to suggest that maybe the 1,000-Kindle barrier could be reached by the end of 2016.

Even if the current pace continues, there are many talented teachers in San Francisco and Oakland who are ready to become part of the KCP. In fact, I received three new applications today. The program is growing quickly, and as long as I have hours in the day, I’ll keep processing these Kindles and getting them out to students who are eager to read.

The KCP believes in choice and access. All young people should be able to read the books that speak to them, wherever and whenever they like. favicon

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What the KCP Means to Me:

Lara Trale | Oakland, California

KCP-Lara-Tralefavicon When I learned to love to read, I was a messy and indiscriminate reader: I read anything I could, including tons of crap, and I read it recklessly. I destroyed books–ripped in my rush for the next page, jammed through the sharp teeth of a stuck-zippered backpack, milk-stained from breakfast, and, too often, lost under my bed, sometimes for so long that the story, when finally rediscovered, felt eerily like a long-forgotten dream.

Did you know the Oakland Public Library has a limit to how many books you can have out at once? It’s 40. As a kid, I hit that limit every summer.

I am not trying to write about me, not really, but I think my history’s important here. I, like many of my students, was an exemplary childhood reader. This is no surprise; like most avid readers, I grew up around people who loved to read, who read to me and surrounded me with books. That’s kind of all it takes.

I’m trying to write, though, about the students who don’t like to read, and it’s by looking at strong readers’ histories that I can see what they need: They need a community of readers. They need to see and hear other people taking joy in books. And they need lots and lots of books to read. (And this is tricky, because here’s the thing about teaching emerging readers: You’re going to lose a lot of books.)

The Kindle Classroom Project helps with all of this. The sleek black devices are visible signals that my room is filling with people who care to read, whose book choices are more or less no one else’s business, and who exert constant pressure on one another through the clandestine sharing of the scandalous or infuriating or beautiful passages they’re reading. For my Post Generation reluctant readers, a Kindle’s electronic interface offers the comfortable reassurance of a security blanket. Reading on a screen doesn’t scare them. They try it. And more and more, they’re learning to like it. favicon

Ed. Note: Lara is a KCP teacher in Oakland.

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How has the KCP impacted you?

favicon The Kindle Classroom Project community has grown to include 688 students, 16 teachers, and 315 supporters. That’s about 1,000 people!

It’s time to gather some stories. What does the KCP mean to you? Why are you a part of the program? How has the project impacted you?

I hope you’ll want to share your story! Your piece can be as short as a paragraph or as long as you like. Feel free to be serious or funny or both. I also highly encourage that you include a photograph. Let’s find out what the KCP community looks like!

After you finish your testimonial and click submit, I’ll get it ready for publication on Iserotope. Here’s an example of what your post will look like. (Thank you, Susan!)

Thank you, everyone — students, teachers, and supporters — for thinking about sharing your experiences with the Kindle Classroom Project. The more stories, the better. I hope you come through! favicon

  • A photo of you isn't required, but I would appreciate it very much, plus it'll make your post more personal.
  • Your email address won't be published. It's just for me to be able to contact you.
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Give a student a reading allowance!

KCP-at-CATfavicon Did you get an allowance growing up?

I didn’t. Maybe I wasn’t consistent on chores. Or maybe my parents gave me everything I needed. (Probably both were true.)

Some of my friends got allowances, though, which they spent on luxuries, like baseball cards, chocolate malts from the school cafeteria, and books.

Last week, I challenged KCP supporters to become sustaining donors. With the program expanding quickly (now 800 students and 19 teachers!), and with Kindles streaming in (170 so far in 2016!), students are requesting books left and right (777 and counting), and I’d like to keep the program’s promise that they can read whatever they like, whenever they like.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could give a student a reading allowance?

The other day, I learned about Amazon Allowance through loyal KCP supporter Brian (Leesburg, VA). The program lets you send an automatic, recurring digital gift card to another Amazon account. It hit me: This could be perfect for KCP donors who want to make regular contributions.

 

amazonallowance2

The process is easy. You go to the Amazon Allowance page, then click through to your Amazon account. Then you fill out a quick form, where you get to title the allowance (include your name here!), choose who gets the allowance (kindleclassroomproject AT gmail DOT com), how much to donate (minimum is $5) and how often (every month, every other week, every week, daily, or one-time). Finally, you choose your credit card, and you’re done. (Don’t worry: You can stop your allowance at any time.)

I made a screencast to help you. I think you’ll enjoy it. It lasts 2:19.

The biggest reason I like Amazon Allowance is that 100% of your donation goes to the KCP, whereas PayPal takes a 3% fee.

The other reason is that if you choose to donate, you are saying, “Yes, Mark. I am totally in, and I want to promote reading, and I believe in what the KCP is doing, and I want the program to be sustainable for many years to come.”

(By the way, you’re also saying: “And please don’t bother me as often with requests for one-time donations, because I’m already donating.”)

Please consider giving an Amazon allowance to a lucky student. I’m happy to report that there are already 10 sustaining donors for a total of $160 a month: Brian (Leesburg, VA), DSW (Saratoga, CA), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Stuart (New York, NY), Lori (Oceanside, CA), Iris (San Diego, CA), Toni (Cary, NC), Nicole (Quincy, MA), Patrick (Garfield, NJ), and an Anonymous Donor. Wouldn’t you like to join this illustrious group?

I’ll update this post as new generous people sign up. Please let me know if you have questions! One more thing: If you’d like to get the word out, you can share this post with the URL j.mp/kcpallowancepost and the video with the URL j.mp/kcpallowancehowto. Thank you! favicon