My good friend Barbara, who is also a sustaining donor of the Kindle Classroom Project, made a great point tonight. It went something like this: The Kindles are great, but the KCP is about the books.
Students who participate in the Kindle Classroom Project get to read any book they want, whenever they want.
The KCP Library, which stands now at 639 titles, grows from student requests. When a student wants to read a book that is not yet in the library, she lets me know through the KCP website. Within an hour or so, the book is delivered and available — not just to that student but also to all 600+ students in the program.
Any book, anytime. Choice and access.
There’s definitely a novelty when a student gets a Kindle. Look, you can make the text bigger! You can look up words! You can turn on text-to-speech! Nevertheless, over time, like most things, the wow factor wanes.
What’s left are the books.
Every new book to the KCP Library originates as a student request. Through these requests, students recommend books to each other. A few students are particularly influential. When Tae’Janai (San Francisco, CA) requests a new book, students in Oakland — whom she’s never met — start reading it, too.
Book requests come in all the time. It’s most heartwarming when I get them in the evenings and on weekends. Students are becoming independent readers. They’re building reading identities. They’re following their interests outside of school time.
It makes me extremely happy that the KCP is expanding. New teachers are signing up, new students are joining, Kindles are showing up on my doorstep, and generous donors are making contributions so that students can read any book, anytime.