On May 8th, Linden Tree Elementary School in New York City hosted a Scholastic R.E.A.L. mentor event in collaboration with Scholastic. This event is the first of a series of four happening across the Bronx, which harnesses the power of Scholastic R.E.A.L., a literacy-based mentoring program that gives schools, districts, public libraries, and community-based organizations the tools they need to recruit and equip mentors.
During the event, over 300 students received one free book to take home, keep and enjoy forever. Additionally, the entire second grade received four free books and a special read-aloud of Standing on Her Shoulders by Monica Clark-Robinson from grandparents in the community.
We know that 83% of children love read-aloud time according to the Kids & Family Reading Report™ and research also supports the importance of mentors in increasing graduation rates, academic performance, improved self-esteem, and more (Youth Gov). After the event, mentors shared that the experience was unlike any other and discussed the positive impacts of creating a reading-oriented program that encourages students to recognize the power of respect, listening, and one’s surrounding community.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to provide diverse and high-quality books to four schools in the Bronx and anticipate lots of curiosity and shared stories at home with families,” said Dwaine Millard, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Literacy Initiatives/Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic. “By having community members come into schools monthly as mentors, and modeling this joy with children, we are influencing a day of excitement to become a culture of engaged readers for life.”
The team behind Scholastic R.E.A.L. is working with schools to equip community members as mentors with the tools needed to share their love of reading with students. Designed to encourage a school culture steeped in storytelling and literacy, these events build community relationships, provide students access to diverse, high-quality, take-home books, and create positive spaces for mentors to come into the classroom and share real world stories, valuable lessons, and fun through engaging read-alouds.
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**Photo: Dr. Cynthia Rosario, principal of Linden Tree Elementary School, is pictured with mentor Estrella Rillos and Scholastic representatives Omiyinka Barton and Dr. Terica Butler. Not pictured: Scholastic representative Toirey Taylor.