Books in the Park

Franklin Township (Somerset County) is a true melting pot of cultures and languages. More than 5,000 students in this school district speak fifty-one (51) different languages. Last year, Franklin Township Education Association members Patricia Quinteros and Frances Bardusco, received an NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education grant for their project, Books in the Park, to bring books and learning activities directly to families and children at their local apartment complex parks. The program was so successful that the teachers applied and received a continuation grant from the Hipp Foundation and Verizon.

This year's $1,295 grant enables the teachers to maintain the heart of this program: a lending library of books for children and adults, books on tape in English and Spanish, and ?make and take? learning activities.

Chairs and blankets in a shady spot will provide an area for recreational reading. Literacy activities such as flannel board stories, puppet shows, chalk talks, etc., will be offered for younger readers. A snack will be provided as an incentive to participate and as a replacement for school lunch, on which many children depend for a guaranteed nutritious meal during the school year.

Parents and other family members will be encouraged to use the "make and take" activities to duplicate the lessons taught by the teachers.

Other aspects of this grant proposal include:

  • Product/Professional Development: Program events will be recorded on digital camera for use in a Power Point presentation at the annual NJTESOL/BE conference and/or NJEA Convention.
  • Collaboration: The Public Library will include program participants in its summer reading incentive program. A community youth organization will supply juice and snacks. PTO members will donate books. The school district?s Cable TV channel will advertise the program. High School students will be offered community service credit for their help in publicizing the program through flyer distribution or participating in the program.
  • Teacher salaries of $5,600 for the 4-week program will be paid by the school district.

Verizon supports family literacy programs in which public school educators partner with libraries or other community organizations and is an NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education partner.

For further information, contact:

Patricia Quinteros
(732) 940-0319