Books in a Backpack

BY Marcia Bear

Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center

Project Description

The project will include the purchase of 15 small backpacks (one per class) and a variety of books for preschool age children (narrative and informational) to create a lending library. The backpacks will be prepared by the classroom teachers with two or three books and information sheets for parents on reading interactively with their children. Students will take turns taking their class reading backpack home for the week. They will complete a simple rating form for each book that they read. (Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy–expressing a preference or opinion. The goal of the project is to increase the frequency of story reading in the home and parent-child engagement in story reading. These strongly correlate to later achievement in literacy and language development.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

A simple rating form will go home with each book that students will complete and return to their teacher. They will color a happy face if they liked the book or sad face if they did not. Teachers will keep track of how many forms come back. Parents will receive a survey near the end of the year to indicate if they participated in the program, enjoyed it and would like it to continue.

Benefit to the students and the school

The Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center is the Inclusive Preschool for the Town of Barnstable. Approximately half of the students have qualified for special education and half are peer models. Listening to and talking about stories helps all children expand their vocabulary and language development. This project will help provide information to parents on early literacy skills and ideas for home. This will start developing a relationship with parents to work cooperatively with school to enhance their child’s education. An increasing number of students are English Language Learners and live in homes where English is not the primary language spoken. An effort will be made to purchase some books in other languages, such as Spanish, so all families are able to participate.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

As soon as grant funding is obtained, backpacks and books will be ordered and put together.  The backpacks could then immediately start going home on a rotating basis for the remainder of the school year.