Students in kindergarten and 1st Grade at Dunbar Elementary School join Sheltering Arms in their Operation Storybook event this year. On September 13th & 14th, volunteers took shifts in the morning to visit the classrooms and read stories to the children. Operation StoryBook is Sheltering Arms’ year-round literacy initiative with a yearly kick-off in all 16 Sheltering Arms locations, and included Dunbar’s students this year. In addition to class story time, the children receive new books for their school library though donations from this event. The goal is to receive one book per student every month, which will be available to all students at the school’s library. Sponsors of Operation StoryBook include Target, The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, Wells Fargo, and many more!
Dunbar Elementary and Sheltering Arms work very closely together as a team. Not only do they share the same building, but also the same students as the children in Sheltering Arms move upstairs into Kindergarten the next year. They collaborate with many events and activities, in order to make the transition easier for the students. For example, Dunbar’s Pre-K class is located on the first floor alongside Sheltering Arm’s Pre-K classrooms and participates in all the activities together, and Sheltering Arm’s Pre-K students have access to Dunbar’s media center for reading time.
Dunbar’s key initiative is improving students’ reading skills as they promote various literacy programs throughout the year. It is also heavily incorporated into the classrooms with an uninterrupted reading block from 9:15-10:15 a.m. every morning, and ending the school day with 30 minutes of “DEAR” (Drop Everything And Read). Additionally, Everybody Wins, a national children’s literacy and mentoring nonprofit, sends volunteers twice a week to read to the students during their lunchtimes. Students face reading exercises all throughout the day as Dunbar seizes every opportunity to further develop their literary skills through teachers, partnerships and volunteer programs.