Illinois Chapter Literacy Project
Grover Cleveland School-Chicago
Illinois Chapter Literacy Project-Paula Baker (Life Member) had the pleasure of volunteering at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Irving Park Neighborhood. The school is in a historic building in Chicago. The school has been educating for 110 years. Grover Cleveland addresses the needs of the community offering a bilingual program for many of its students.
Paula read to a group of children excited to hear a story of two other children living in Africa’s Sudan. Mrs. Calbert’s 5th grade class and Paula began a journey with Salva and Nya (A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park), a story of hope and perseverance.
They spoke about taking care of our mental health. Paula shared her love of reading as a healthy coping skill during times of stress .She explained reading is a safe option to explore people and the world. We learned the meaning of SMART Goals, and decided reading was the smart goal of the day. The children listened eagerly, asked and answered questions, participating in a happy dialogue. Mid-way through the first chapter a child explained, “you know we can follow along if you place the book on the overhead project. Paula explained, she could do better and supply all with a book, a book light, and information.” The child gasped and cheered. Her peers join the celebration. Paula distributed the books to each child, teacher, and teacher assistant. The teachers followed along as two chapters were read. The reading was a joyful experience after a challenging year living in a pandemic. We are reminded of the simple joys such as sharing a conversation and the gift of learning.