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A huge year for the Kindle Classroom Project!

Note: This post was originally published yesterday in this month’s newsletter. Consider subscribing!

favicon Happy December! Hope your holiday is going well so far! It has been a long time since my last update, and since then, there have been huge changes to the Kindle Classroom Project. Check out these highlights!

The KCP smashes the 1,000-Kindle barrier!
Kindle donations have been astounding this year. Back in February, there were 688 Kindles. Now there are 1,376. (Yep, that’s double the number.) How is this possible? Two ways:

1. Generous supporters have sent in Kindles at around 1 per day.
Donors since February include: Anne (Seattle, WA), Mark (Kensington, CA), Mark (Bethesda, MD), Paula (Brooklyn, NY), Stacey (Danville, CA), Michelle (San Francisco, CA), Barbara (Encinitas, CA), Jay (Odenton, MD), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Uketa (Columbus, GA), Thao (Daly City, CA), Cherie (Burlington, ON), Arran (Denver, CO), John (Schererville, IN), Tom & Rob (San Francisco, CA), Wendy (Nashville, TN), James (Willington, CT), Robert (Dix Hills, NY), Melisa (West Bend, WI), Anjum (Brooklyn, NY), Vicky (New York, NY), Raymond (Philadelphia, PA), Amy (Atlanta, GA), Sharath (Charlotte, NC), Sharon (Natchez, MS), Michael (Cupertino, CA), Kerry (Marina, CA), Paul (Berkeley, CA), Anna (Calgary, AB), Samantha (Beacon, NY), Darrell (Lodi, CA), Dezmond (Seattle, WA), Adams Brothers (Atlanta, GA), Angela (San Mateo, CA), Caren (Camp Springs, MD), Sarah (Austin, TX), Paul (Manakin-Sabot, VA), Mario (Alexandria, VA), Emily (San Francisco, CA), Michael (Patchogue, NY), Peter (Santa Clara, CA), Daniel (New York, NY), Wendy (Sandy, OR), Sandra (Houston, TX), Ann (Los Altos, CA), Elizabeth (Byron, MN), Kay (Ballston Lake, NY), Joanne (Indianapolis, IN), Diane (Sammamish, WA), Sarah (Lake Oswego, OR), John (Boulder, CO), Rob (Villanova, PA), Herb (Morehead City, NC), Terry (Etiwanda, CA), JonAngelo (Twain Harte, CA), Cathy (Lodi, CA), Janice (El Cerrito, CA), Patrick (Norwood, MA), Brad & Ellen (Okemos, MI), Britt (Philadelphia, PA), Russ (Lees Summit, MO), Christine (Lilburn GA), Pete (N. Olmsted, OH), Mark (Pompano Beach, FL), Sarah (Seattle, WA), Christina (Huntington Station, NY), Sarah (North Royalton, OH), Christine (Somerville, MA), Linda (Roseville, CA), Kate (Dayton, ME), Peter (San Francisco, CA), Eleanor (Bellevue, WA), Christine (Herndon, VA), Sandra (Dallas, TX), Rosalie (Melrose Park, IL), Mary (Blooming Grove, TX), Mark (La Jolla, CA), Gay (Flemington, NJ), Christine (Olympia, WA), Lynnette (Los Angeles, CA), Andy (St. Louis, MO), Cissy (Plymouth, MA), Nealy (San Francisco, CA), Reginald (Houston, TX), Patricia (Irving, TX), Elizabeth (Seattle, WA), Bonnie (Charleston, SC), Marcia (Englewood, CO), Cassandra (Balwyn, AUS), Karla (Sherman Oaks, CA), Juliana (Harrisburg, PA), John (San Mateo, CA), Alan (Encinitas, CA), Pam (Midland, TX), Darlene & Hugh (Woodcliff Lake, NJ), Allison (Jacksonville, FL), Yvonne (Kissimmee, FL), Kristin (Seattle, WA), Olimpia (Salem, SC), Robert (Sun City, AZ), Sharon (Algonac, MI), Teresa (W. Orange, NJ), Jennifer (Ackworth, GA), Elizabeth (Morro Bay, CA), Kerry (Marina Del Rey, CA), Marc (Brooklyn, NY), Andras (Concord, NC), Marie & Eddie (Bangor, ME), Kristin (Hayward, CA), Susan (Arlington, VA), Aaron (Albuquerque, NM), Diane (Calgary, AB), Kristi (Ramona, CA), Leigh (Seligman, MO), Sheila (Berkeley, CA), Allie (Orange, CA), Jacki (Edgewater, MD), Charlene (Englewood, CO), Shari (San Francisco, CA), Kate (Newburyport, MA), Sam (North Potomac, MD), Joey (Parkville, MD), Pam (Stamford, CT), Simona (Altamante Springs, FL), Chris (Montgomery Vlg, MD), The Pelletiers (N. Tonawanda, NY), Matt (Ladera RAnch, CA), Robert (Ossining, NY), Anthony (New York, NY), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Betsy (Seattle, WA), Susan (Mtn. View, CA), Nathaniel (Brooklyn, NY), Francis (San Francisco, CA), Heather (Bozeman, MT), Jodell (Skaneateles, NY), Robin (Bronx, NY), Alissa (Waterford, VA), Karen (Highland Vlg, TX), Jim (Buffalo, NY), Michele (San Francisco, CA), Christian (Kirkland, WA), Joe (Seattle, WA), Joe (Seattle, WA), YT (San Diego, CA), Robyn (Redmond, WA), Janet (San Jose, CA), Daniel (Ben Lomond, CA), Jay (Odenton, MD), Blaiz (Los Angeles, CA), Brad & Ellen (Okemos, MI), Matthew (San Francisco, CA), Jeff (Placentia, CA), Megan (Lincoln, CA), Jocelyn (San Francisco, CA), Greg (Irvine, CA), Amy (Brooklyn, NY), Miriam (Davis, CA), Shannon (Boise, ID), Carson (Newburyport, MA), Ma’Lanee (Bear, DE), David (Chevy Chase, MD), Oliver (Houston, TX), and Iris (Avon, CT). THANK YOU!

Have another Kindle to donate? Or a friend who might like to donate one? Here’s how.

2. Worldreader made a huge donation of 458 Kindles to the KCP. (Wow.)
Worldreader is a wonderful non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate illiteracy, “to create a world where everyone is a reader.” Last month, I got a message from Zev Lowe, senior director at Worldreader. Could the KCP use some Kindles? And would you like to come by to speak to the team? Sure!

It was wonderful to meet the Worldreader staff, get a tour of operations (thank you, Ryan Lew), meet founder David Risher, and answer questions about the KCP. (Here are some neat slides!) Everyone was kind, smart, and like-minded. Their commitment to promoting reading among young people in the developing world is unparalleled, and they were impressed with the KCP community of students, teachers, and supporters.

Zev’s promise of “some” Kindles ended up becoming this behemoth donation (458 Kindles, 400+ cases, 400+ chargers, and more). Take a look!

This donation from Worldreader is the largest in KCP history. It allows the program to serve more students and teachers in more schools. In addition, I look forward to keeping in touch with Worldreader to find ways that both projects can deepen our impact.

The KCP now serves a whole school!
It was always a dream of mine to see the Kindle Classroom Project grow to serve an entire school. That dream is now a reality! Since August, all 425 students at Envision Academy in Oakland have been reading on Kindles. They have 25 minutes of independent reading time every day, plus nearly all students take their Kindles home. This means students read at night, on weekends, and over vacation breaks.

Every Friday, I get to visit Envision Academy, and inevitably, students stop me in the halls and staircases, asking me for new books, telling me about their favorites, and thanking me for their Kindles. Sometimes they call me Mr. Mark, and other times, they refer to me as The Kindle Guy, and either way, it is heartwarming.

The KCP Library is booming
Because of generous donors and student enthusiasm, the KCP Library now stands at 925 books (up from 669 in February). The library keeps growing and growing! One motto of the program is that students may read what they like, when they like, however much they like. As a result, students get to request new titles that interest them, and students choose well.

Here are some of the books students have requested over the past few weeks:

         

Students choose good books. They request their books on the program website, any time day and night, and I buy them within a few hours. There is a trust building among students that the KCP community cares deeply about their reading interests and will honor student book requests.

I’d like to thank the following people for donating to build the KCP Library in 2016: Lori (Oceanside, CA), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Becky (Woodside, NY), Stuart (New York, NY), Iris (San Diego, CA), DSW (Saratoga, CA), Chris (Montgomery Village, MD), Toni (Apex, NC), Ma’Lanee (Bear, DE), Sharon (Naperville, IL), Elder Family Foundation (Berkeley, CA), Sherril (Pacifica, CA), Dina (Saratoga, CA), Patrick (Garfield, NJ), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Pat (Santa Rosa, CA), Michelle (Alameda, CA), Tom & Rob (San Francisco, CA), Karl & Phoebe (Santa Cruz, CA), Allie (Orange, CA), Bob (New York, NY), and Kati (Newark, CA). Thank you! (Hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

Want to help build the KCP Library? Here’s how!

Sustaining donors ensure the KCP’s long-term health
Whenever I get nervous that I won’t be able to honor a student’s book request, another KCP supporter chooses to donate again, or to make a sustaining donation. It is a testament to the power of the KCP community that so many people continue to give and give. KCP supporters believe in young people and their reading lives.

Here are the KCP’s sustaining donors of 2016: Brian (Leesburg, VA), DSW (Saratoga, CA), Iris (San Diego, CA), Sherril (Pacifica, CA), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Pat (Garfield, NJ), Dina (Saratoga, CA), Stuart (New York, NY), Toni (Apex, NC), Lori (Oceanside, CA), Sam (North Potomac, MD), Matthew (San Francisco, CA), Irene (Los Altos, CA), Cathy (Lodi, CA), Susan (Mtn. View, CA), Emily (San Francisco, CA), Kati (Newark, CA), Amy (Brooklyn, NY), Kate (Dayton, ME), Bob (New York, NY), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Pat (Santa Rosa, CA), Elder Family Foundation (Berkeley, CA), Laura (San Francisco, CA), Chris (Montgomery Vlg, MD). Thank you! (Hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

In all, $9,148 has been donated so far in 2016, 22% more than the $7,525 donated last year. Thank you! Want to become a sustaining supporter of the KCP? Here’s how!

Next steps for the KCP
So much, so many things! I’m excited about a number of projects, including:

Finding another school that would like to go all-KCP. There are a few excellent candidates, including ARISE High School, Oakland High School, Elmhurst Community Prep (all in Oakland), Leadership High School, and City Arts and Technology High School (both in San Francisco). We would pilot in the Spring semester and then launch whole-school next August.

– Maybe expanding to middle schools. Research says that independent reading declines beginning in fifth grade, especially for boys. If the KCP can encourage young people to read beginning in middle school, they’ll never have to reclaim their love of reading; it’ll always be there! One challenge: Introducing middle schools would require starting a new KCP library from scratch to accommodate what’s appropriate for younger readers.

– Nonprofit 501c3? It’s always in the back (or front!) of my mind to quit my day job, take a risk, and make the Kindle Classroom Project a nonprofit organization. But legal and financial considerations (particularly with book distribution) make it challenging. My hope is to build a pilot program in 2017 that will test whether a 501c3 is viable. This “test KCP classroom” might be one that I lead myself! (More to come about that.)

Thank you again for all your support. We have built a very strong community. If you’d like to help out some more, please let me know! favicon

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Promote reading. Become a monthly donor.

10th grader at Envision Academy, Oakland, CA.
11th grader at Envision Academy, Oakland, CA.

favicon The past four years, more than 450 generous people from across the country have donated Kindles to promote the joy of reading among urban high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you!

The Kindles keep coming (34 so far this month), and the program continues to expand (3 new classrooms so far this month). The growth is uplifting and heartwarming!

By the end of January, the KCP will serve 650 students and 14 teachers in 5 schools. Students get 24-hour-a-day access to a Kindle and 640+ books (and counting).

Update 12/2016: The KCP now serves more than 900 students and 29 teachers. There have been 1,376 Kindles donated in all!

All of the books in the KCP Library come from student requests. This means these are books that students want to read. Here are some examples of recent requests:

  • All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Wild Crush, by Simone Elkeles
  • Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
  • The Food Lab, by J. Kenji López-Alt
  • The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
  • Patternmaster, by Octavia E. Butler

When they get choice, students choose well. That’s why I tell students that I will honor their book requests. By doing so, I’m telling them that their interests are important, their reading lives are important — their hearts and minds are important.

I would like to encourage you to promote reading by making a monthly donation to the Kindle Classroom Project. Your contribution will directly fund students’ book requests.

Each book you fund goes on the student’s Kindle as well as in the KCP Library. Up to six students can read a book at the same time. Kindle ebooks never get lost or worn. Your investment will last for many years to come.

If you’re interested in becoming a monthly donor, choose one of the following levels:

  • Book Lover: $5 a month (a book every two months) ($60 a year)
  • Bibliophile: $10 a month (a book a month) ($120 a year)
  • Bibliomaniac: $20 a month (two books a month) ($240 a year)
  • Bookworm: $40 a month (four books a month) ($480 a year)

Choose your level below and then click “Donate Now,” which will take you to PayPal to complete your donation. Afterward, I’ll send you an email to thank you! Remember that you may stop your monthly donations at any time.


Promote reading: Become a sustaining donor of the Kindle Classroom Project!


I can’t wait to see how many of you take the plunge and make a monthly contribution. KCP students and teachers will be very grateful, as will I! If you have any questions, please let me know — whether by leaving a comment or by sending an email. Thank you.

Update: You can also make a recurring donation through Amazon Allowance. The benefit is that 100% of your donation goes to the KCP! The Amazon account to donate to is kindleclassroomproject AT gmail DOT com. favicon

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SF students give thanks for Kindles

favicon The Kindles have been in Kathleen’s classroom in San Francisco for less than two weeks, and already, students are writing thank-you cards.

Here are a few! (The first two didn’t photograph well.)

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“Thanks so much for the Kindles, Mr. Isero! You’ve opened me up to so many books. I am currently reading The ShallowsThe Alchemist, and The New York Times. Thanks! –Nick

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“Dear Mr. Isero, Thank you very much for the Kindles. I am excited to read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The Kindles will come in handy! —Sincerely, Eryka Q.

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“Dear Mr. Isero, Thank you so much for the Kindles! They have opened the doors even wider into the world of reading. You are so kind for donating all of these Kindles to us juniors! Because of this Kindle, I will never lose my interest in reading.” —Sincerely, M.C.

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“Dear Mr. Isero, I am very happy to know that someone like you takes pride in helping young adults. I would like to appreciate and thank you for the Kindles. They make reading so much better! I am reading The Cartel series, and I’m on Book 5, thanks to the Kindle. Thank you so much!” —Jada

* * *
I think these are wonderful — it’s great to get thanks. But really, the gratitude goes to the hundreds of people from across the country who have found the Kindle Classroom Project and donated their Kindles. (And to Kathleen, who is encouraging her students to read every day.) (And to Kathleen’s students, who are reading up a storm.)

This gives me an idea. It’s time that the students know the name of the generous donor who contributed their Kindle. That way, if they want to write a thank-you card, they can thank the donor directly. Once the student writes the note, I would fill out the envelope with the donor’s address and mail off the note.

Thoughts? favicon