On average, students lose two months of reading skills over the summer, and studies show that reading four to five books over the summer has a positive impact comparable to that of summer school enrollment. To kick off Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, RAFT hosted a special book giveaway on Saturday, May 2. Crowds of educators gathered at RAFT to give thousands of students increased access to books, augmenting summer education and helping to prevent learning loss.

“Kids are more willing to read when they have their own books,” said Becky Regan, a fifth grade teacher in San Mateo. “Most of my students don’t typically have books of their own. The closest they come is the library, and at home they often share limited books with their brothers and sisters.”

Sheila Gamban traveled from Santa Cruz to collect books for her school’s summer reading program. She has been working to collect 400 books, at least one for each student at Green Acres Elementary. “We have 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade,” said Gamban. “Our goal is to have younger students read, or have read to them, one book per day. Upper grades are assigned 6 chapter books to read through the summer. Between libraries and the books we can give to the students, we can keep our students’ minds active even when they’re out of school.”

Teachers spend countless hours outside the classroom preparing lessons and gathering resources to support their students. The large turnout to the book giveaway event shows not only educator understanding of the importance of summer reading, but also their willingness to spend personal time and resources to educating students every day.

RAFT was founded in 1994 to provide teachers with creative teaching ideas, affordable supplies, and a space to collaborate with other educators, enhancing the student learning experience. At RAFT, every day is teacher appreciation day, but knowing the need for additional tools to keep learning going over the summer, the organization hosted the giveaway to thank teachers for all they do. The event was extremely well-received.

“Thank you so much for doing this,” said Genevieve Lau, a teacher at Downtown College Prep in San Jose, as she wheeled away a cart full of books. “These books will make a huge difference for my students.”

Hundreds of educators gathered for the RAFT book giveaway.

Hundreds of educators gathered for the RAFT book giveaway.

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