I grew up watching tv shows like the “ABC Weekend Special” that would encourage you to read books and visit your library. My friend Rachel grew up watching “Reading Rainbow”. I don’t have kids of my own, but I have fond memories of how important reading was to me when I was a kid. And it still is.
My friend Rachel teaches kids who have trouble reading. She mentioned to me last year how great it would be if her kids could have books at home to practice with and keep. She says that often the book order form will come around but kids sometimes won’t order because it can be expensive. So, for our 2nd year in a row… she created… Cafe Brazil!
First… where did the books come from? Cafe Brazil started with Hometown Happenings collecting books at our various running events. Our friend Breanne at Cafe Fresco also collected books for us from her customers. Lastly, we organized a team and nearly bought up every kids book offered at the local library book sale! All in all, we collected 1,000 books!
So, today, I was privileged enough to sit in on Rachel’s class while she taught. What an amazing teacher she is! Her kids love her and she is very engaging. She is the kind of teacher we wish we all would have had as kids.
Then she makes the announcement that she has set up a “cafe” in a lecture hall. She gives all the kids a ticket and tells them the tickets are good for up to 5 books. This way, they can get books for siblings or cousins. And they get to KEEP them! The ticket also allowed them donuts and juice and they had a chance to sit with their friends and their books and enjoy their snack… just like in a real cafe!
There was literally a gasp of excitement from all the kids… even from the ones who acted as if they were “too cool” for all of this. Watching them go through all the books that were laid out was similar to watching kids on Christmas morning. Joke books are very popular as are books related to movies and superheroes. And, surprisingly, the kids really wanted their own set of encyclopedias! We had 4 sets that Rachel raffled off to the kids.
Rachel kept her cafe of books open for both of her classes as well as other classes in the school. In all, I think we encouraged over 100 kids to become more avid readers. You could not have a better partner on a project than Rachel. And, as I told her afterwards, LeVar Burton would have been proud of us!
Thank you to ALL who helped us with this project!