“Books for Teachers” by Matthew Hestad

Matthew Hestad, a 3rd grade teacher at Van Asselt Elementary, chats with us today about  Friends of the Seattle Public Library’s teacher voucher program. Since 2009, the Friends have received generous funding from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to provide classroom books in high-need (Title I) Seattle public schools. Through these grants, teachers receive $100 in vouchers to purchase books for their students. Our Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th will see 49 vouchers redeemed by teachers from 21 different schools!

Matthew Hestad in his classroom

This program puts books into the hands of students by one of the most important figures in a child’s lifetime of learning: the teacher. Here is Matthew’s story.

On the Friends’ Book Sales and “Books for Teachers”:

What drew me to the Friends’ voucher program was the need to get more books into the hands of my students. Every classroom has a leveled library in their classrooms where students can choose from a small variety of books at their own independent reading level and one of our most important reading genre’s is that of informational text or nonfiction. The Friends’ sales have given my students so many more choices of books that match their interest levels and this allows for a much broader range of excitement when reading informational text.

I am a teacher who loops between grade levels and have taught my students for the past three years beginning in first grade. Because of “Books for Teachers”, as my students’ reading abilities have increased, the Friends’ books have enabled my students to explore nonfiction and learn about topics that haven’t been able to read about previously.

When I leave the sale I always have received the maximum number of books that my voucher allows. I get there as early as possible and bring a very large suitcase on wheels. As I walk out the door my suitcase is filled with mostly nonfiction books from topics dear to my students hearts to books that I know as their reading abilities grow they will discover new and more developmentally enticing topics.

The classroom library, with books from the Friends’ book sales.

It’s amazing to be able to choose books for my students. We know each other well and as I browse titles or topics my students’ faces are constantly jumping into my head. “Oh, a book on tornadoes… Ben will hold this book and need it close to him for days. A book about Egypt… Susan will need this for her project. Wow, book #3 from the 39 Clues series is what Ra’Janae was looking for but our library was out of. Tarik will need to read the Gail Gibbons book entitled “Bats”.

I leave the book sale with 100 books and once back in the classroom, in front of my students, and causing great anticipation and excitement, will open the suitcase and begin pulling the many books out for students to see. My student’s excitement is explosive and contagious as they peruse titles and genres. The books immediately get sorted and labeled into different categories like reptiles, fish, weather, insects and of course a favorite… the human body. They go by topic, author, genre etc and are always available.

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Thank you, Matthew, for this personal insight into the program. Teachers throughout the Seattle area will be utilizing the Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th to restock the shelves of their library classrooms. Come join them in one of the city’s biggest used book sales of the year! All proceeds directly benefit the Seattle Public Library.

NORTH SEATTLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE, cafeteria

9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

Saturday, April 6th 9:00am-5:00pm

Sunday, April 7th 9:00am-4:00pm

 

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