Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:12

Saratoga Wins the Book Lottery

By Megin Potter | Education
Saratoga Wins the Book Lottery

For six years, the Scholastic Book Club’s Patterson Partnership Grant has been awarding schools throughout the country with books that educate and inspire children. This year, five regional educators were winners.

It’s all a matter of luck. The Scholastic Book Club partners with mystery and young adult author James Patterson to award 5,000 prizes randomly each year from the more than 100,000 entries they receive annually. The grant awards $500 and 500 points to be used towards new materials from Scholastic to each winner. 

“I’m super excited and can’t wait to order. It’s like winning the lottery,” said Katie Fleming, 4th grade teacher at St. Mary’s School in Ballston Spa. 

She plans to order supplies that will help to supplement her classroom’s novel studies, that have great figurative language, and that coordinate with their social studies curriculum.

Because less than five percent of entries are chosen as winners, it pays to keep trying. 

That’s what Meredith Andrews, 4th grade teacher at Karigon Elementary School in Clifton Park discovered. She’s entered to win the grant before and has known colleagues who have won, but this time, luck was on her side. 

“Of course, I’m very excited. I plan to purchase things the whole grade level can use,” she said.

This includes multi-cultural books that feature characters of different races and abilities so that every child can see themselves reflected in what they read. Andrews also hopes to secure fiction and mystery sets for the classroom.

Engaging materials make learning fun and help to enrich transitions for teachers. Their enthusiasm is then shared with their students, so everyone feels like a winner. 

“I switched from teaching kindergarten to first grade this year and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to build my classroom library. I was so surprised and excited to receive the notice in the mail that I had won! I plan to use the money to buy high-interest fiction and non-fiction texts to enrich the educational experience of my first-grade students. What a wonderful opportunity!” said Alison Leclerc, teacher at Skano Elementary School in Clifton Park. 

Studies have proven that the more contact children have with books, the better readers they become. The most successful classroom libraries offer students immediate and frequent access to a variety of different books while also providing a venue where teachers and students can easily recommend books to each other.

According to the American Library Association, classroom libraries should contain between 300-600 titles, depending on grade level, be supplemented from a well-stocked school library and from other sources. Additional new books should be added each year. Materials should span a range of difficulties, languages, topics, genres, and perspectives to best tell the story of our diverse world. 

Additional local winners of the Scholastic prize also include David Bassani from Schuylerville Central School and Darci Carril for the Saratoga Springs YMCA.

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