It's Book Time!

The books are flowing in monthly for Miss Ellerbeck and the third grade students at Center City PCS - Brightwood! Each month EnjoyReading provides student-picked books from the Scholastic Book Clubs catalog for 26 voracious readers. 

Abel, 9, told us why he chose his book:

"My favorite part was when the third ninja was fighting the wolf, because the three ninja pigs do flips and things and they scare the wolf away.  I like it because when I read it, sometimes I get a paper and tell what happened on the paper.  It's like a story that I write.  I'm just copying the first until the middle.  At the end, I'm going to change it."


Our New Model

EnjoyReading is back to school for the 2013-14 school year with a new model and new energy! We appreciate all of our supporters, followers, and donors -- thanks for sticking with us and with DC kids!

EnjoyReading will continue to combat city-wide low reading performance in DC public schools without access to books at home or in school libraries. Research shows that creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has nearly tripled interest in reading within months. We at EnjoyReading have always believed that the best way to increase reading performance is for students to have access to high quality books they choose -- books they want to read!

Our new model granted one Scholastic book club award to a pool of applicants of DC public and public-charter school teachers. Our award allows each student in one lucky elementary school class to select and receive one book per month from Scholastic book club catalogs, totaling 10 books per year to add to their home libraries. This will increase the amount of books read in the awardee’s classroom by 250! 

Our grant also includes two family literacy nights at the school for the grant recipient’s class and their families.

Meet our Grant Recipient

We are thrilled to introduce Samantha Ellerbeck, our first grant recipient, to the EnjoyReading community! Ms. Ellerbeck currently teaches Special Education at Center City Public Charter Schools, Brightwood Campus. Her students range from 3rd through 7th grades, and a third grade class she works closely with will receive the grant award this year!

Ms. Ellerbeck’s crucial work in literacy instruction at Center City Brightwood follows the mission of her school. However, Ms. Ellerbeck faces many challenges with teaching reading to her student population, of which 95% are considered low-income and 45% are English language learners.

“I have the privilege of working with students who often feel the most disenchanted with and unsuccessful at reading. One of my primary responsibilities beyond teaching the mechanics of reading is to help all students fall in love with literature.” 

Ms. Ellerbeck teaches children to love reading by giving them ample time to read books of their own choosing independently, but faces some frustrations:

“Unfortunately, [resources] are constrained at our school, which has no library and serves families who are often unable to provide books for their students at home. A common refrain heard in the classrooms is: ‘I’ve read all of these already!’ or ‘I don’t want to read any of these books!’”

Ms. Ellerbeck is thrilled to receive the grant from EnjoyReading and allow her students to pick out the newest, most engaging books available on the market from the bright, appealing Scholastic Book Club catalogs. She says:

“With the resources to provide our students with this opportunity, we will truly be able to immerse our scholars in a literate environment at Center City Brightwood and create a community of engaged readers following their own interests and curiosities. I envision student-led book talks that spark the creation of a sign-up list for who gets to borrow the book next. I imagine students consulting written book reviews hanging on the walls. I foresee the classroom bursting with chatter at the end of stamina reading, because the students just have to share Matilda’s latest escapade or a new fact about seahorses. These experiences will increase students’ ownership of the classroom and generate a self-sustaining atmosphere of shared, authentic literacy.”

We certainly look forward to working with Ms. Ellerbeck and her class. Stay tuned to this blog to find out what books her students choose to read and take home next month!

Miss Ellerbeck with her favorite book to teach.

Miss Ellerbeck with her favorite book to teach.

I'm Reading: Readicide

I'm reading: Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

By: Kelly Gallagher (2009)

I just finished Readicide and am very excited to recommend it to EnjoyReading's followers and supporters. Readicide is a concise, well-written book about the policies behind what teacher/author Kelly Gallagher calls "readicide" -- the killing off of reader's in America's current classrooms.

Gallagher cites current research and statistics that alarm me, and really emphasize the importance of EnjoyReading's mission. Here are a few quick facts, all backed up by research in the book, that I'd like to share with you:

  • In an attempt to raise reading scores, school districts across the country are removing books from kids.
  • In DC, African American students are, on average, four years behind their white peers in reading. Low-income and low performing students pay the biggest price.
  • Struggling readers receive a test-prep curriculum, less access to interesting academic and recreational reading materials, and less time to read extensively.
  • Low performing schools cut the arts, social studies and science to make room for test-prep reading curriculum, removing invaluable opportunities for students to build background knowledge -- a key component of reading proficiency.

Gallagher's book is not all doom and gloom, though. He knows that students who spend more time reading for pleasure score higher on standardized reading assessments, and he gives educators practical ways to make sure our students are immersed daily in a "flood of good books."

Readicide made me proud to know EnjoyReading is working to combat the policies that are taking books away from our kids, and killing off readers in our schools. EnjoyReading fully believes that "putting good books in front of our students" (Gallagher, 30) should be every educator's mission, particularly those educating the lowest performing readers.

Agree? Disagree? Please comment below and share this post on Facebook and Twitter!

DC Cuts Funding for School Librarians

Recent articles in the Post and the School Library Journal have highlighted how drastic DCPS budget cuts will affect school librarians and libraries across the District. All DCPS schools with enrollment under 300 will not have funding for a school librarian. All schools with enrollment over 300 will leave budgets for libraries and librarians up to the discretion of the school's principal. 34 school librarians are expected to be laid off.

Following a pattern in DC, the cuts will most drastically affect our "poorest schools."

The School Library Journal reports:

The challenge will be in communities where parental support isn't available and where students need their libraries even more," Huffine explains. "In communities where kids don't have a home computer, where they don't get taken to their public library and where they are already behind their classmates—these are the areas that most need a school librarian and where they will be eliminated most easily.
Children without access to school libraries will loose access to books, and reading will suffer:
In short, "the schools that stand to lose their librarians under the chancellor's plan are populated by children whose homes are devoid of books," wrote MacPherson in a letter to the City Council last week.
EnjoyReading firmly believes that these cuts will hurt poor children: they will hurt poor children and their families' access to books, they will hurt poor children's enjoyment of reading, and they will hurt poor children's acquisition of reading skills.
Along with parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders across the District who are lobbying against these cuts -- EnjoyReading has a plan. EnjoyReading doesn't want children to have to wait for consistent access to engaging and appropriate reading material -- we want to put circulating BookRooms in DC Public Schools without libraries now!
Throughout our pilot program this school year at Stanton Elementary School we:
  • Established a dedicated space for a circulating BookRoom.
  • Grew the BookRoom's inventory of circulating books from 500 to 1,500.
  • Cataloged 1,500 books and made them consistently available for check-out to 175 K-3rd graders.
  • Hosted a Family Literacy Night -- the highest attended non-mandatory after school event for students and families.

Help us put BookRooms in more schools without libraries in our Nation's Capitol!

Donate to our cause securely online with Razoo.

Contact us about how you can help.

And share our story on Twitter and Facebook.

Family Literacy Night: "Cuddle Up & Read"

Last night EnjoyReading hosted its inaugural Family Fun Literacy Night at our pilot BookRoom site, Stanton Elementary School. What a success! 60 parents and children joined us to make a take-home craft (a fleece blanket), eat a healthy dinner, learn about the EnjoyReading BookRoom at Stanton, and cuddle up and read with their families.

We couldn’t have done it alone! Special thanks to our board members, Stanton teachers and staff, Stanton parents, and others who helped make the evening a success.

We look forward to meeting our fundraising goals this year in order to bring a regular program of Family Fun Literacy Nights to our BookRoom sites! We know these programs are the best way to let families know that reading together remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.

Support and share our great work! Visit


News from EnjoyReading: February 2012

Read and share our February 2012 newsletter!

Read and share the press release about our 501(c)(3) status!

Exciting things are happening at EnjoyReading! We hope you will read all about our programming success so far at Stanton Elementary and share our story with friends, coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances -- let's get the word out!

Remember: Your support is needed for EnjoyReading to keep serving the kids and families who need us most, and to end the literacy crisis here in Washington, DC!

In 2012, EnjoyReading hopes to employ a full-time program director, create a standards-based curriculum for our BookRooms, expand programming operations to two schools, and begin an innovative staffing program to employ school parents in EnjoyReading bookrooms. Yes, we are busy! We invite the Washington, DC community to meet the literacy crisis in our city head-on! Donate directly at or by organizing a bookdrive.

As always, thanks for reading!

-Rachel & Ali

Hazards of Book Donation?

A few weeks back, we got a call from Stanton, informing us that someone whom had recently learned about EnjoyReading  left us three boxes of unsolicited donated books.  At EnjoyReading, we have been asked questions about our unique  book collection model, but when we opened up the boxes, and saw two filled with The Gossip Girl prequel, by Cecily von Ziegesar  we knew exactly why we ask donors to send books from our website. Now dont get us wrong, we wont deny reading the book, and watch the show!  Yet, EnjoyReading focuses on kindergarten through second grade students, where it is important for these young children, 5-8 years old, leaning to read, can take home books on their level to help them grow as readers.  Also important to new readers is they select books on topics that are of interest or they can relate to. Reading 'Just Right Books'  helps a new reader in sounding out words, comprehending the story and making inferences.  A Just Right Book  allows a positive and rewarding  reading experience,  thus developing a lifelong love of reading.

Some of our scholars' favorite just right books.

Some of our scholars' favorite just right books.

EnjoyReading -- In Their Own Words

[vimeo w=400&h=225] Stanton scholars tell you why you should VOTE for EnjoyReading on the Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge! Click below to vote!

Or text 110443 to 73774. It's so easy! Vote every day throughout December.


Quotes from The BookRoom

D: "Ms. Ali, you were sick yesterday? I wanted to get a new book!" Ms. Ali: "It's recess time now, I guess you could come to The BookRoom and miss recess?"

D and J: "YES!!!!"

Photo below with their new books for this week ( D keeps asking for The Art Lesson and J for more Eric Carle...that we don't have yet)


Time to Party: Mo Willems Books at the EnjoyReading Marketplace!

Stanton Scholars love books that are silly, books where appealing pictures help them understand the text, and books they can read on their own. Mo Willems' books satisfy ALL of these requirements.

Send a Mo Willems picturebook (Knuffle Bunny or Pigeon) or Easy Reader (Elephant & Piggie) today!!

Young readers LOVE Mo Willems books because they are silly, they make them laugh, and, most importantly, they are written on just their level -- young readers can easily read and understand Willems' text, particularly in the "Easy Readers" series.

Mo Willems won 6 Emmy Awards for his writing for Sesame Street. His debut picturebook, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! became a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2004. The following year Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale was awarded a Caldecott Honor. The sequel, Knuffle Bunny Too: a Case of Mistaken Identity garnered Mo his third Caldecott Honor in 2008. In addition to picture books, Mo created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of “Easy Readers”, which were awarded the Theodor Suess Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and a Geisel Honor in 2011.

Send a Mo Willems book to the EnjoyReading BookRoom today!

Celebrate One Month: Join the 250 Books Campaign!

EnjoyReading is just starting its 250 BOOKS CAMPAIGN to celebrate over one month of success in the BookRoom at Stanton Elementary! We are inviting the DC community to become founding members of this important mission and donate books from our brand new online bookstore! We hope to receive donations for 250 new books by January 1, 2012!

Give the gift of reading to those who need it most and learn how your donation is spent.

Read below for more news from EnjoyReading:

The BookRoom was full today at Stanton! 2nd graders eager await Ms. Ali's instructions to pick out new books to read at home with family members! Send these eager scholars more books to read today! EnjoyReading also teaches math! Scholars are using data analysis to read our "Who Did You Read At Home With?" graph. One scholar recently told us, "I'm gonna read my book with my uncle because that's sad that no one is reading with their uncle." Send her a book to read with her uncle today!

Quotes From The BookRoom #2

This scholar, new to Stanton this year, just came to ask what we were doing in a closet. We told him we were making a library. His response, "What's that? You mean, I can take these books? I've never seen nothing like that before" Get excited T, we open next week.

(September 28, 2011)


One Month of The BookRoom

Today marks the one month anniversary of The BookRoom's opening at Stanton Elementary! In school BookRoom's are EnjoyReadings main programatic initiative and thus far we are extremely happy and excited by the many successes at Stanton's BookRoom.

By The Numbers:

All K-2nd grade classes have visited The BookRoom

588 books are available for checkout--yet we still need many independent reading books.

125 books are currently checked out

The BookRoom is averaging a 70% return rate per class each week

Most popular Titles: Pop-Ups! (All 5 copies of "The Jungle Book" checked out each week)

Second most popular theme: Halloween (Specifically our one copy of "Halloween Bugs" pop up and "Don't Go Up Haunted Hill or Else!")

Most popular treat selected: Teddy Grahams

Most popular person to read with at home, as reported by scholars: "mother"

Quotes from The BookRoom

Each week the students at Stanton elementary make us smile with their comments and suggestions for The BookRoom and also from their thoughts on the book they check out. We have decided to share these moments. Follow up on all of them by sorting with the tag "quotes from The BookRoom"

Books Boys Love in the New EnjoyReading Marketplace!

Working for DC Public Libraries has exposed me to a lot of brand new books for young readers that engage with stories, characters, and pictures young boys can relate to. I am happy to add all of these recommended books to the "Books Boys Love" bookshelf in the brand new EnjoyReading Marketplace! I know all our scholars at Stanton Elementary requesting books about trucks would love to see these books in their BookRoom!


"Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site" By: Sherri Duskey Rinker Say goodnight to the construction site. Dumptrucks, tractors, and cranes play and work hard all day, and need to sleep at night, just like boys. This rhyming picturebook would be a wonderful bed-time read-aloud.

"Night Shift" By: Jessie Hartland Boys love to read about different interesting jobs. This beautifully illustrated book describes some of the most unique jobs there are, those that take place after most of us have gone to sleep!


Welcome to Jon Sciezka's Trucktown! Sciezka writes with boys specifically in mind, from board books to leveled easy readers. Meet all of the characters at the interactive Trucktown Website.

Send Books Boys Love to the BookRoom today!

News from the Stanton Book Room!

The EnjoyReading Book Room at Stanton Elementary School is up and running! Students (called scholars by the school) have been meeting in the Book Room once per week to self select books to read in school and at home.
Fast Facts:
The Book Room at Stanton has over 500 books!
5 teachers (Pre-K-2nd Grade) have signed up to use the book room so far!
Students are returning their books on time with a 75% success rate!
Students are requesting more books! Boys are asking for books on cars and trucks. Girls are requesting more "Olivia" picturebooks. All students want more pop-up books!
Help Stanton's Book Room thrive by sending a book today! It's so easy!
Follow EnjoyReading on twitter (@enjoyreadingdc) for daily updates!

Thanks for reading!

EnjoyReading Launch Event

Last Wednesday EnjoyReading officially became Washington, DC's newest education start up with our launch event held at 19th Bar.  Guests were able to  send a requested book to students at our pilot site from lists on an iPad,  sign our poster with their favorite book and dance to live music from Jeff From Accounting.  It was a great night enjoyed by all.