( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) The Nonprofit Encourages and Develops Young Readers To Discover Books, Share Stories, Explore Dialogue, and Have Fun!
ENSPIRE Contributor: Logan Floyd
Amidst the crisis in the American education system that has only been worsened by COVID-19, Burst Into Books is offering children of all grade levels customized academic support. Providing a variety of educational services and online workshops, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the power of literature. As schools across the country begin to move online, Burst Into Books is providing unique online programs designed to support both students and their families.
These online programs include “Lit Talk” workshops, the newest series of which began in September but are still available to those still needing resources. Originally created back in December 2018, the goal of these workshops is to provide parents with tools and strategies that they can implement at home that will help with their children’s literacy skills. Each workshop is led by a specialist who guides the sessions for that month, with a new specialist taking over each month. The workshops are designed to cover different age bands, from children less than a year old to teenagers and young adults as old as 18.
“We decided to host them online so that it would be easy to access and parents could watch the workshops anytime,” a representative of Burst Into Books said. “They have been going great and parents appreciate the resources that are provided.”
The workshops also offer diverse bodywork from authors of many backgrounds. This year’s workshops will feature the likes of Jason Reynolds, Questlove, Henry Lewis Gates, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jerry Craft, Jacqueline Woodson, Bell Hooks, Trish Cooke, and Nic Stone.
“[It] is important for children to read texts that represent them,” the representative said. “Also, that they are introduced to a variety of writing styles and genres.”
In addition to the workshops, Burst Into Books also offers one-on-one tutoring sessions. These sessions include features such as pre-assessments, parent and teacher surveys, progress monitoring with evaluations, monthly academic goal setting, homework help, and more. Parents are granted flexibility in planning their children’s tutoring, being able to choose from a range of tutoring session packages, along with plan options and payment plans. The customizable nature of the tutoring is meant to make it applicable to students of all learning styles.
“As educators, we know that each child has a preferential learning style,” the representative said. “Being in quarantine makes it difficult to address each learning style. However, we pride ourselves in building relationships with our students to make sure we are still making the lessons engaging and centered around things they enjoy.”
In addition to aiding children and their parents, Burst Into Books is also supporting communities through virtual town hall meetings. These meetings are meant to help a community’s families communicate with one another and share their ideas and concerns regarding current issues. Children, as well as adults, are invited to speak, and families are encouraged to help their children become more civilly active. So far, children at the meetings have shown an impressive amount of engagement.
“Children are very interested in issues around mental health, resources available in their community to lessen violence prevention, and opportunities for them to learn new things,” the representative said.
With students around the US hit hard by the closing of schools, Burst Into Books is giving children and their families needed educational resources and services. More than this, though, the nonprofit is helping parents and children connect with one another, encouraging them to become actively engaged in one another’s lives and to share their thoughts and feelings. Given the struggle that children and their parents are being put through in the current crisis, it is encouraging to know that support systems like Burst Into Books are available.