What can make reading more fun? A fabulous home made bookmark, that’s what! Check out these pictures from Ephesus Elementary.

Child with bookmark she created at Ephesus Elementary

Wimpy Kid Bookmark

SCALE’s America Reads tutoring program partnered with the after-school program at Rashkis Elementary to create an exciting and educational book-making extravaganza. The tutors organized and led the event with the afterschool coordinator and staff at Rashkis. The tutors transformed the cafeteria into book-making stations, with a table for each aspect of the book-making process. One table was for brainstorming, another for rough drafts, a table for the final draft, and the last table was the illustration table. The tutors also created a space for a storyteller to share a picture book with the students. Everyone had a wonderful time and the students all walked away with a hand-crafted book.


During National Literacy Action Week 2011, America Reads tutors at New Hope Elementary (Orange County, NC) and Maureen Joy Charter School (Durham, NC) worked with their students to create posters that answered the question, “Why is it important to know how to read?” Students came up with many different reasons why it is important to learn to read: so that you can decide which type of snack to buy from the vending machine; so that you can read the newspaper and keep up with what is happening in the world; so that you can pass the end-of-grade test and move up to the next grade level; so that you can read road signs when you learn to drive, and more! Upon completion, the students’ posters were displayed on the walls of the schools for their peers and teachers to see. The America Reads tutors and students worked hard to inform their peers about the importance of learning to read during NLAW 2011.


The debate last night was really interesting! The topic discussed was whether a child who could not read at or above grade level should be retained. All speakers presented convincing arguments, and the whole room was engaged. One point brought up was how individual states set standards for each grade level. It made me wonder if the states should set their own grade levels or if a national standard should be made? – Annie, America Reads tutor

The activities surrounding National Literacy Awareness Week were very exciting. Making the Black History Month books was a fun yet literacy skilled event. Many of my students were interested in the pictures that you could color and that had the biography paragraph on it. I used these coloring opportunities to discuss in detail about the historical role of African Americans. It was interesting to explain and get the kids opinions and ideas about freedom, being an hero and equality. I found it beneficial to talk in terms of being fair, which they understood more clearly. Some concepts were hard for them to gather such as racism and oppression and freedom fighters, which can be looked at as a good thing. You get to see the world through the eyes of an innocent child who has consciously experienced the results of discrimination and prejudice. Overall this was really good and I think they felt accomplished when they completed their books!!!

“Freedom is being fair to all people” (Student at Carrboro Elementary defines freedom)

“A heroine can save people.” (Student at Carrboro Elementary defines being a hero)
From Asia Vianna Mack, America Reads Tutor

This week I had a great experience with the America Counts NLAW activity! We worked on teaching the students financial literacy. I was amazed at how quickly the students picked up on the activity. The students got money for their positive behavior, such as turning in homework, staying on task and class participation. After the first day when I introduced them to this topic they were excited about the activities. They all decided to keep their money and save it for the next class that I came. When I came the next class they all had their homework! They all stayed on task and were great! The talked about the problems they were having as a group and worked them out with a little guidance from me. Overall I would say that it was very successful! They learned the benefits of saving while also doing their homework and classwork! – Caitlyn, America Counts Tutors

NLAW at Culbreth Middle School went smoothly after our strategic planning. We made decided to do financial literacy, where we gave the students a fake blank checking account. When they did something right, like got a problem correct, took notes, participated in class, then they earned money. If they used their calculator or borrowed materials they had to pay up! All of my students took this challenge on and seemed to have a great time. I noticed that all of them had a difficult time debating whether or not to use their calculator. At the end of the period, their “money” in their “bank account” could earn them candy and prizes. Overall, I think our team did an excellent job coming up with something that wouldn’t distract the students from their usual goals while giving them the joys of learning about financial literacy! :]] – Taylor, America Counts Tutor

For NLAW week, my team came up with a with a points/money system whereby students can earn money throughout the tutoring sessions that week based on things such as participation, getting the correct answers, and staying on task. There is also a deduction of money for things such as forgetting your calculator or not having your homework. At the end of the day they can pick a prize to buy, or save until the end of the week and get an even better prize. The students I’ve had love love love bubblegum, so that’s a lot of what they’ve been buying. That and glowsticks. 🙂 To have a significant effect though, I believe that it should be NLAW month, not week. We need more time, so the students can really see what we’re trying to do, and the benefits of saving over the long run. – Lauren, America Counts Tutor

I tutor math in Culbreth middle school. In this past week, we came up with an activity where student can earn cash base on their participation in class and they can use these cash to buy different items from our store. The ultimate goal of this activity is to teach student to save money so they can afford something better in the future instead of just squander it on toys or candy. So far, the activity went well, just wish NLAW last longer, so we can do activities that are more substantial than what we have right now. – John, America Reads tutor

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