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Northwood Elementary School Builds a Community of Readers

Northwood Elementary Readers


A group of Northwood Elementary School fourth grade teachers took to social media to rally their connections, aiming to raise money for books for their students. When Denise Healy, Amy Sheridan, Nicole Sickle and Alyssa Wood posted their idea to Facebook, the response was fast and enthusiastic.

Scholastic Books sends monthly flyers to schools, and each of these flyers advertises one book for $1. These creative Northwood Elementary teachers did the math, realizing that a $9 donation would allow them to purchase one book per month for each student in their classes to have a book to take home. A few days after posting this information onto social media, they had raised enough money to purchase a book for 114 students – the entire fourth grade. The project grew, and now each Northwood fourth grader will receive one book each month for the entire school year, which led to the name of the initiative – That’s What Friends Are For: Northwood Networks Nine Novels.

Ms. Sheridan kept her Facebook supporters updated as the books began to come in. “The students were so excited to receive their own book to build a home library,” she posted. Each book received a label with the student’s name and name of the program.

After such an overwhelming show of support, Northwood Elementary looked for ways to pay it forward. After reading about Esther Jackson Elementary School’s summer reading program, the “Northwood Networkers” – as they call themselves – reached out to their sister school and offered their extra books. They are now preparing to deliver their second batch of free books to Esther Jackson Elementary.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled to see this simple idea blossom into a school-wide activity that is showing the joys associated with reading a great book,” said Ms. Sheridan.

Northwood Elementary’s love of literacy is contagious, and the fourth grade project has expanded to other classes. They have included the third graders, who are also receiving their own books; and the Northwood Elementary kindergarten teachers have raised enough money to provide books for one month to four Title 1 schools throughout Fulton County Schools.  In fact, the project has raised enough money to purchase approximately 6,000 books by the end of this school year.

Parents also have been enthusiastic about the program. “Not only is this a great idea, but it is such an exhibit of kindness,” one parent wrote, noting that she planned to encourage her son to write a thank you note to the community.

“We learned that our friends are always there for us,” said Ms. Sheridan. “We were able to reach out through social media to people who don’t even know our students and raise money for books.”