It’s part of the Classroom Library Book Grant Program in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University.
GVSU faculty members Sheryl Vlietsrta and Megan Freudigmann came up with the idea of finding a grant to help new teachers build their classroom libraries.
“They arrive with lots of energy and great ideas but often find there are no materials to help them teach,” said Vlietsrta. “It can take new teachers several years of personal spending to develop a functional classroom library.”
Katie Lett was the first teacher surprised.
“I’m so overwhelmed,” said Lett. “These kids are the world to me so to have these books for them is just amazing.”
“All six of the people who wrote in that are receiving classroom libraries said they have 50 to 100 books,” explained Freudigmann.
“The research we found said a foundational classroom library should have at least three to 500 books if not more. When we heard they had 50 to 100 we thought immediately these are our winners.”
The program is open to alumni who began their elementary teaching careers within the last three years and who are teaching in underserved districts in the greater Grand Rapids area. The teachers were informed of their selection but will be surprised by the delivery of at least 300 books for their classroom libraries.
The Classroom Library Book Grant program was awarded a $2,500 Meemic Foundation for the Future of Education grant in February to help support the development of resources for new teacher classroom libraries.