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Jet Delivers Books To Kids Overseas




Arts & Humanities
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Social Studies
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Grades 2-up

News Content

An organization called Room to Read is shipping thousands of books to children in poor countries.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to identify some of the organizations that are active in their school or community. Students might identify groups such as the Camp Fire Girls, the Lions Club, the Republican Party, the Garden Club, and others. Ask them to identify how each of those organizations helps or supports the community. Then ask, Why do people join together to form organizations? Accept students reasoned responses, including the idea that when people join together they can accomplish greater goals and do more good.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: passengers, native, rural, organization, donated, and poverty. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Members of the church _____ more than 100 pairs of mittens to help keep kids warm this winter. (donated)
  • Polar bears are _____ to the Arctic region. (native)
  • There were more than 2,000 _____ aboard the Titanic when it sank in 1912. (passengers)
  • Juliette Gordon Lowe founded an _____ known as the Girl Scouts in 1860. (organization)
  • Children in ____ areas of our state must travel long distances by bus to get to school. (rural)
  • Teaching new job skills is one of the best ways to help poor people escape from _____. (poverty)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Jet Delivers Books to Kids Overseas.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

  • More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • A Boeing cargo jet recently carried more than 100,000 books to Hong Kong, China. Organizers of this effort dubbed the plane Literacy One.
  • John Wood was motivated to found Room to Read while on a backpacking trip to Nepal in 1998. When he learned that many rural schools where he hiked had few books, he made it his mission to help those kids -- as well as kids in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, South Africa and Zambia -- learn to read so they might escape the cycle of poverty in which they live.
  • Wood made his first book delivery to Nepal seven years ago. He delivered those books on the back of a yak in order to send a clear message that his group would do anything to get books into kids hands.
  • Room to Read recently opened its 5,000th library. The organization hopes to open 10,000 libraries by 2010.
  • Room to Read hopes its new Literacy One Challenge will motivate students to raise money for books in unique and fun ways. Students have held read-a-thons, auctions, and coin drives to raise sums large and small. One group of students in England held a sponsored silence; they raised $5,000 by charging $5 for every hour that they remained silent.
  • The Literacy One Challenge, developed in the wake of the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004, has helped more than 200 schools raise more than $500,000. Some of that money has been used to publish books by authors and illustrators in the countries the program helps. One such book, I Can Do It By Myself, was published for young children in Nepal. If a school raises $3,000, its books include a special page dedicated to the school and the school receives copies of the book.
  • Another goal of Room to Read is to improve educational opportunities for girls. Since its inception, the organization has provided long-term scholarships to more than 3,000 girls in developing countries.
  • According to information from the United Nations (UNESCO), more than 770 million adults worldwide cannot read or write. Room to Read is determined to change that statistic.
  • Prior to founding Room to Read, John Wood worked for Microsoft. Older students might be interested in reading Wood's memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which has been translated into 15 languages.

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to tell why they think John Wood formed an organization called Room to Read.

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of the following questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • How many books were aboard Room to Reads recent flight from Seattle to China? (100,000 books)
  • Why did John Wood establish an organization called Room to Read? (He learned that many children in rural areas of the world have little or no access to books. He wanted to help children learn to read so they might escape their lives of poverty.)
  • What does the Room to Read organization do with the money it raises? (The money is used to buy books, publish books in childrens native languages, and build schools and libraries.)
  • Where are some of the countries in which Room to Read is active? (Nepal, India, Vietnam, South Africa, and others)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. Students might write their thoughts about the question in their journals.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Math -- estimation. Ask students to estimate the number of books that occupy the bookshelves in their classroom. If they are satisfied with their estimate, you might challenge them to estimate the number of books stacked in the school library. Write the student estimates on a board or chart. Have them draw comparisons between that number and the number of books (100,000) that were recently flown to China.

    Social Studies. Use the Explore Nepal resources on the Web site of Room to Read to help students learn more about the country, people, and culture. In addition to information, the site also offers lesson plans for teachers.

    Geography. Have students locate on a world map these countries in which Room to Read is active: Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, South Africa, and Zambia.

    Language arts -- research skills. Challenge students to use library resources to identify the native language of each of ten countries listed here. You might set up this activity as one where students match a country in one column to its language in another. Austria (German), Brazil (Portuguese), Chile (Spanish), Cyprus (Greek), Egypt (Arabic), Iran (Persian), Niger (French), Netherlands (Dutch), Pakistan (Urdu), Taiwan (Chinese).


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    LANGUAGE ARTS: Foreign Language
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-FL.K-12.2 Cultures

    MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-NUM.9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions
    NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2007 Education World