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Expanding Horizons, One Book at a Time

As you may or may not  know, I am currently a Teach For America corps member teaching 10th Grade English in Charlotte, North Carolina.  One of the greatest challenges my students face is  the incredible pressure of No Child Left Behind that is placed on low-performing schools.  This pressure is creating incredible resistance to reading in the students who need to be reading the most.  This resistance is born from the “readicide” that is occurring in classrooms across our city in schools with the highest need.  In order to pass a standardized test, students are given skill-and-drill lessons day in and day out.  Before entering my classroom, the majority of them closed the year never even reading a novel in their English class.

The Alliance for Excellent Education points to over 8.5 million—roughly 1 in 4—secondary students who are able to read and comprehend material in their own textbooks, leaving 3 in 4 students grade-levels behind.  Of the nearly 24 million students who struggle to read their textbooks, nearly 3,000 struggling readers will drop out of school every single day.  This will not be the story of my students. As a lover of language and a firm believer in the power of literacy as the most powerful equalizer in our democracy, I cannot allow this to happen to the students I love and am accountable to.  The only antidote to “readicide” is to have students reading, and reading regularly, books that interest them and that they choose.

I am determined to assemble a classroom library of 101 of highly engaging books for reluctant readers (enclosed).  Any support you can give to the mission of cultivating a classroom of readers would be hugely appreciated.

You can choose to demonstrate your support in three ways—donating books (used or new—it does not matter!) by mail, purchasing them online, or sending a check contribution.

If you choose to send a check or books by mail, please postmark to this address:

Teach For America

Campaign Against Readicide

5855 Executive Center Drive

Suite 200

Charlotte, North Carolina 28212

If you choose to donate books by purchasing them online, please select any novels you wish from this Amazon wishlist:

All items purchased here will ship directly to me!

When speaking to the University of Michigan’s School of Education, Arne Duncan observed “Today, you might be able to sit at the front of the bus, but if you can’t read, you‘re not free.”  I am working to build a library of high-interest novels to get my students reading something they enjoy every single day.  My students will leave my classroom with a love of reading sparked and rooted within them.  Your help in building a classroom library is the most important step to get them there.

With deep gratitude,

Mr. Asciutto

Published inTeaching