There’s so much that has happened, and so much going on, that it’s sort of impossible to figure out where to begin. But let me try!
#1: The growth is amazing (and a little bit crazy). This will be the fifth year of the Kindle Classroom Project. I remember when there were just six Kindles in September 2011. When we started up school last year, there were 161. Now there are 592.
Each Kindle comes with total access to the KCP Library, which now includes 513 books.
#2: The KCP now serves nearly 600 students and 10 teachers in seven schools in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Hayward. Kindles keep arriving every day (20-30 a month, on average), and there is a waiting list of interested teachers.
#3: I’m super excited to announce that the KCP is partnering with the Oakland Unified School District on a project to research the effects of the program on student reading. Three teachers and 340 students at Oakland High School will receive Kindles. We’ll track what the students are reading, if they read more e-books than physical books, how their viewpoints on reading change, and whether their reading skills improve at a faster rate.
#4: The KCP now has its own website! This website will be a hub for students, teachers, and KCP supporters to follow the project. Students will keep track of all the books they’ve finished, read reviews and recommendations from their friends, and be able to request books they want to read. Teachers will get to view their students’ reading progress at a glance to help with book recommendations. Supporters will get to see the impact of their generous donations and connect more closely with the program. I’d like to thank friend and former colleague Brandon (San Francisco, CA) for all his hard work on this website. It’s live now, so feel free to register as a supporter! (There’s much more to come.)
#5: Then there was the first-annual Kindle Registration Party! Thirty-plus friends, family, former students, and KCP supporters came over to my house, ate pizza and my mom’s cookies, drank Sprite (and sometimes water), and helped register 210 new Kindles.
There’s no way that I could have processed all of these Kindles on my own. In fact, I predict that it would have easily taken me 50-80 hours. Despite a few tech challenges (my home WiFi network couldn’t handle all the simultaneous devices), the team finished everything up in six!
Take a look at this huge list of participants: Peter (San Francisco, CA), Michele (San Francisco, CA), Nancy (Oakland, CA), Joel (Oakland, CA), Emma (San Francisco, CA), Lara (Oakland, CA), Michael (Oakland, CA), Vanessa (San Francisco, CA), Jacqueline (San Mateo, CA), Brandon (San Francisco, CA), Millie (San Francisco, CA), Brent (San Francisco, CA), Julia (San Francisco, CA), Linda (Hayward, CA), Tim (San Francisco, CA), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Beth (San Francisco, CA), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Melissa (Oakland, CA), Talya (San Francisco, CA), Jessica (San Francisco, CA), Jenn (Oakland, CA), Judy (Asheville, NC), Abby (Berkeley, CA), Carla (San Francisco, CA), Lisa (San Francisco, CA), Danny (San Francisco, CA), Irene (Los Altos, CA), Jacob (San Francisco, CA), and an anonymous supporter from Mountain View. (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!)
Also: Thanks to Gail (Greenbrae, CA) for coming over days after the event to continue the registration process, including getting the Kindles on the website and boxing them up for delivery! Also, I appreciate the videography of Wenner (San Francisco, CA), who filmed all my how-to videos (which had a big yet fleeting following on YouTube).
#6: It’s now easier to follow the KCP. In addition to registering on the website, you can follow the Kindle Classroom Project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All the names are the same now (@kindleclassroom), so it’s less confusing. If you’re interested, please take the time to follow the KCP on at least one, and get the word out.
#7: I need your help to keep the program growing. By far, this year will be the KCP’s biggest. Compared to last year, there will be more than triple the number of students reading books, recording books, and reviewing books.
Most important, I make a promise to students that they can read whatever books they like, however much they like, whenever they like. This means that students get to take their Kindles home. This also means that students may request that new books be added to the Kindle Library. And it means that students may request additional copies of books when a license limit is reached (i.e., more than six students are reading the same title simultaneously).
I’ve estimated that the cost is $20 to support one KCP student’s reading for one year. This includes the Kindle case and charger as well as enough funds to cover the student’s book requests.
Please make a donation to support one (or more!) students this year! The easiest and fastest way is through PayPal. (PayPal just made it super fast.)
If you don’t like PayPal, you can also donate an Amazon gift card via the KCP’s Amazon Wishlist. (I also need tons of chargers, cases, and other accessories.)
Most important, thank you very much for all your support. This little humble program is growing up! It’s because there are hundreds of people from all across the country — friends, family, and total strangers — who care deeply about young people and their reading lives.
You believe, as do I, that offering aggressive access to books, alongside a caring and dedicated teacher, supports urban students of color to learn more about who they are and who they want to become.
Thank you again for all your support, and please feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!