Tagged: kindle classroom project

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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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Recommended Reading: “In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed”

favicon Most of the white, college-educated, middle-class, similarly-aged people I know have warm memories of their local public library when they were kids. These memories usually involve walking or biking to the library, checking out tons of books, and getting an ice cream cone on the way home. For many Americans, the public library is a personal sanctuary, a haven for knowledge, and a treasure of our democracy.

Not everyone, however, shares those sentiments. When I taught in San Francisco, my students told me over and over again that they had a more complicated relationship with their local public library. It didn’t feel comfortable or welcoming. I asked them why they felt that way, and the No. 1 answer was, They were afraid of library fines.

In a recent New York Times piece, reporter Carol Pogash assails the San Jose Public Library’s policies regarding late fees, lost materials, and checkout privileges. The library faces $6.8 million in unpaid fines. Its late fee is 50 cents per day per item. It prohibits checking out additional materials if people owe more than $10. And it uses a collection agency to recoup debts in excess of $50.

In “In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed,” Ms. Pogash does not pull punches. She interviews young people who say their moms don’t allow them to check out books. One mom tells her daughter, “Don’t take books out. It’s so expensive.”


The article goes on to explore how the San Jose Public Library is not alone in its aggressive policies. For example, Texas allows its libraries to take delinquent patrons to court. Though I understand that libraries face tough challenges, particularly when a majority of people do not return books on time, current practice does not seem to be the right way to go.

Obviously, I do have bias because of my interest in the Kindle Classroom Project. Just to be clear, I love public libraries, especially the San Francisco Public Library and the Oakland Public Library. Libraries need to exist, and they do good things. Still, one thing I’ve learned since founding the KCP is how important it is to decrease barriers to reading. (Books are best in young people’s hands.) Rather than keeping track of tons of books each year, students check out and return just two items: their Kindle and their charger. Simple as cake. (Loss and breakage to Kindles is just 3.1%.)

“SAN JOSE, Calif. — When Damaris Triana, then 8, lost several “Little Critter” books that she had borrowed for her sister, the library here fined her $101 — including $40 in processing fees — a bill that was eventually turned over to an agency to collect from her parents.”

Source: http://j.mp/1qkXjdO (via Pocket). You can also find this article in next week’s Iserotope Extras, a weekly email newsletter that includes my favorite articles about teaching, reading, and technology. Feel free to subscribe! favicon

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Say hi to the KCP’s 700th book!

favicon Just last month, the Kindle Classroom Project reached 700 Kindles, and just a few minutes ago, the KCP added its 700th book.

The KCP’s 700th book is The Rose Society, by Marie Lu.

The Rose Society

Congratulations to Grace (Oakland, CA) for requesting it! (Nearly all books in the Kindle Library are requested by students.)

I’d like to thank KCP students for requesting excellent books and KCP supporters for donating the funds to make it possible to purchase those excellent books.

Let’s keep going! favicon

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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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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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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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Kindle Classroom Project: Any book, anytime

IMG_20150911_085254550favicon 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. favicon

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Look at these happy readers in Oakland!

favicon Teacher Lara (Oakland, CA) sent me a few photos today of more happy students reading on their Kindles — especially during lunch and after school.

Thanks for the photos, Lara — and thanks, students, for reading!

It’s becoming clear that something big happens when we give a student a Kindle that holds a library of more than 600 high-interest titles.

Simply: Reading happens more often, in more places.

Add that to the promise that students may request new books to the Kindle Library, and you have a powerful combination.

Thanks again to the students, teachers, and generous donors of the KCP. favicon

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The KCP Library reaches 600 titles

favicon I am proud to announce that the Kindle Classroom Project’s library now stands at 600 titles, thanks to student requests and donor contributions.

Patternmaster, by Octavia E. Butler, is the KCP Library’s 600th book. It was requested by Jazmine, who got hooked on Ms. Butler after her teacher assigned Kindred. Jazmine is in the middle of reading all of Ms. Butler’s books.


The KCP Library has grown substantially in 2015. As a point of reference, in late-January, the library held 406 titles. Every book since then has been requested by a student.

Students are able to request books because of generous donors from across the country. I want students to be able to read what they want, however much they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. The only way that I can make good on that wish is because of the contributions I receive.

Here are a few other books that students have requested the past couple months:

Life in Prison, by Stanley “Tookie” Williams
+ Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
+ Black Boy, by Richard Wright
+ The Martian, by Andy Weir
+ A Deeper Love Inside, by Sister Souljah

The requests keep rolling in. Sometimes they enter my email inbox in the morning, when students finish up books at school and want to start new ones. Other times, the requests come late at night, because students are reading on their Kindles at all times of day. Whenever the requests come in, I love honoring them.

The KCP is ending 2015 strong because of dedicated teachers, interested students, and generous donors. Thank you! favicon

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What happens when a book request comes in

Book Requestfavicon Thanksgiving is coming, which means the 600+ students in the Kindle Classroom Project are finding themselves off of school — and ready to read even more.

This also means I’m receiving more book requests than normal. Over the past week, the average has been four a day. Here’s what happens when a book request comes in.

Step #1: I receive an email in my inbox. Before I get the email, the student has already searched for the book on his or her Kindle, not found it in the Kindle Library, and then logged on the KCP Website to ask for the book. The email looks like this:

KCP Book Request Email

Looks like Jazmine likes Octavia Butler! (Kindred is a book that some teachers assign, and it’s possible this student got hooked on Ms. Butler after reading it. One of the best ways to get students to read a lot is to encourage them to follow a series, author, or interest over the course of a number of books.)

Step #2: I confirm the book is not yet part of the Kindle Library. Sometimes the Kindle’s search feature doesn’t work perfectly, and as a result, students may request a book that already exists in the library. Until I finish adding all 600+ books to the KCP website (want to help? 🙂 ), the complete Kindle Library is currently on Goodreads.

KCP Goodreads

In the bottom left corner, you’ll see that the status of this book is “want to read.” I change the status to reflect that the book is now part of the Kindle Library on Goodreads. (The Kindle Library now holds 587 titles, thanks to generous donors. Every book that is purchased comes from a student or teacher’s request.)

Step #3: I buy the book on Amazon. This part takes a few clicks. Just to be safe, the KCP’s gift card balance — where supporters’ generous donations go — stays in a separate Amazon.com account from where the students’ e-books go. This means that when I buy a book for the Kindle Classroom Project, I gift the book from account to another.

KCP Amazon Book Request

It looks like Mind of My Mind costs $6.15, much cheaper than buying the mass-market paperback at $16.14. To be clear, I’m not an enemy of physical books, but purchasing the e-book version means several things: (1) Jazmine starts reading the book immediately, (2) The book never gets lost or worn, (3) The book is available to other students, particularly if Jazmine recommends it to her friends.

Step #4: I add the book to the KCP Website and notify the student. This year is the first where the program has a dedicated website — where students can search for books, review them, and recommend them to friends. In addition, teachers will soon be able to track their students’ reading progress, and I’ll be able to see which books are most popular. Big thanks go to my friend and former colleague Brandon, who is volunteering his time and skill to develop this website.

KCP Website Page 1

You’ll see my administrator dashboard, which announces the new book requests. Mind of My Mind is ready to be added to the Kindle Library, and after a few clicks, Jazmine gets a personal notification that the book is ready for her to read. My favorite part is that I get to write a personal note to students. Even though the primary contact students have is with their teacher, I get to be interested in their reading lives, too, from afar.

So there’s the process! Usually I honor students’ book requests twice a day — once in the morning, and once at night — so that no student is waiting more than a few hours to get their book. Many requests come late at night — after school, after homework is done. This tells me that students see themselves as readers, and that they trust the KCP to deliver quickly on their reading interests.

If you would like to help a young person to read the book that he or she wants to read, please consider making a donation. Here’s the Contribute page, and here is a really quick way to donatefavicon