Eagle Academy: Building a Library

When Jackie Haggins, 8th grade ELA teacher for Eagle Academy for Young Men II, needed help, Behind the Book was happy to assist. Ms. Haggins’ school lost their whole library when their building, which holds several schools, was reconfigured.

Luckily we were able to donate books for the new school library – now housed in Ms. Haggins’ classroom – and she has seen a real difference. “Other kids in the building are now coming to my room to read books,” she said. “It’s increased the amount of reading our students are doing across the board and throughout all grades.”library-1-cropped

Ms. Haggins, who’s been teaching at Eagle Academy for three years, uses the books and integrates reading in multiple ways. “On Fridays we have independent reading, if they finish work early they can read, and they can check out books to take home.” This isn’t the first time Behind the Book and Ms. Haggins have worked together. Last year we set up a program for her class. “It was a wonderful experience. The kids from beginning to end got to become involved in the creative process,” she said. “It helped them to develop more ownership over their writing. I saw a lot of creativity in them that I haven’t seen before.”

Click here to see the work: http://www.behindthebook.org/programs/gallery-of-student-work/straight-outta-brooklyn/

The book that her students created last year is a big hit with her current students too. “I have copies of the books that were made. My students like to read them and talk about them, knowing that their friends upstairs made these books.”

library-3As for the library, Ms. Haggins sees the importance of having books available for students. She likes to see her students use the library on a regular basis. “It makes me happy. I like seeing that they know the library is there. That they know there’s a resource,” she said. “I like that they know that these things are there for them.”

Often times resources as simple as books for students aren’t available to them. Ms. Haggins put it best in saying that if you think children don’t like to read then “You haven’t found the right books.” Behind the Book knows that students love to read and learn.

We welcome all types of book donations, so we are able to help schools like Eagle Academy. (And thanks to Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Hachette, Rosemary Stimola Literary Agency, and so many of you who have made projects like this possible.)library-5-cropped

We may not be able to donate a library to every school but even one book can change a student’s life.

This is the second in our series on partner school Eagle Academy, from Brian Bonilla, a journalism student at Brooklyn College.

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