Why WITS Gives Students SummerBooks

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I can’t believe another program year is in the books! I’ve spent this year visiting many WITS sessions from WITS Kindergarten at Lozano Elementary to field trips to the Harold Washington Library with DePaul WITS on Campus volunteers. I’ve even had the pleasure of working with my own student for the WITS Mid-Day Mentoring program at Otis Elementary.  I’ve loved every minute of it. I love that I can walk into any WITS session, any day of the week, and see the sparks of new learning and conversation between students and their mentors.  All of this work culminates in May with WITSummer Books – a set of five books we send home with every student in a WITS volunteer program.

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The benefit of having books in the homes of young people is well-established, but beyond the research, what it means for WITS is practicing what we preach. Nothing quite captures the work of WITS better than WITSummer Books. During WITS programs we give students access to varied, high-interest texts and a caring literacy mentor who opens the door to reading for enjoyment. It is only fitting that we close out the WITS program year with book ownership. Ownership is powerful. With books to call their own, students become independent in their reading journey. Students also become stewards of literacy in their homes and communities. Five books to a WITS student means five more books for siblings to share and five more books for parents to read aloud.  WITSummer books mean five more books to discuss with classmates and friends at school.
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We recently had a class of 4th grade students write thank you letters to WITS for their WITSummer Books. In one letter, a student asked how we’re able to give students new books. The simple answer is because of you. If you’re reading this newsletter you are part of the WITS community and we couldn’t do the work we do without your support.  Please consider a donation to WITSummer Books.

Thank you and happy summer reading!

By:  Kristen Strobbe, Program Chief Program Officer