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December 15, 2023

Sharing Our Cookies: THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School

Shalia Moore-Hayes, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Note: In the summer of 2020, as summer camps were unable to open due to the COVID pandemic, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) pivoted to create a home-based summer reading program entitled THIS BOOK IS COOL! (TBIC). Over 1,100 children in grades PreK-3rd registered to receive 20 curated books, activities, and webisodes, with special guests sharing why each book was cool. As fall approached, it became evident that classes would still have hybrid learning, and SCGLR developed support for educators by initiating the THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School (TBIC! In School) program, providing deeper connections with our teachers, students, and their families. With local educators developing standards-based lesson plans for each of the TBIC! books, classrooms were provided a set of three books, lesson plans, activities, and swag for teachers and students, and a copy of each of the three books for the students to take home for their personal libraries. As the program has evolved since 2020, appreciation for TBIC! In School has also grown.

Imagine a world where every child has access to the magic of reading, where the joy of learning is as sweet as sharing cookies. This vision has taken shape in the form of the program TBIC! In School is spreading literacy in classrooms across Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. The origins of TBIC! In School can be traced back to the imaginative Beth Duda, with support from The Patterson Foundation and SCGLR. The goal was simple yet profound: to show appreciation for our educators and make reading as cool as a shared plate of cookies!

The program has made a significant impact. Let’s take a look at the numbers, breaking down the reach of TBIC! In School across the region:

  • DeSoto: Inspiring 13 classrooms
  • Charlotte: Illuminating the minds of 20 classrooms
  • Manatee: Sparking the joy of reading in an impressive 301 classrooms
  • Sarasota: Bringing reading magic to 156 classrooms

That’s nearly 500 classrooms so far during the 2023-24 school year! Since the program’s inception, over 18,000 students have received lessons around these cool books. And the quotes below are evidence of its success in weaving a literacy tapestry across the Suncoast:

            “We want to express our gratitude for your wonderful gift to our VPK students. Every week, we talked about what was happening, what you enjoyed, how you could rewrite the story, and more. My VPK is ELL/ESOL all picture books brought more new vocabulary words and beyond.”

            “FREE books provided! FREE lessons and activities! Seeing students’ faces light up when you tell them this book is for you to take home and keep…priceless!” 

            “The program, lessons, and activities are well organized and thought out. I have loved being part of this program, and I love how many books I am facilitating for my students and their families to add to their home libraries.”

            “LOVEEEEE this program! It is such a blessing to have this for students and families.”

As TBIC! In School continues to share its cookies, the love for reading is not just a solitary joy but a shared celebration. The program is helping to successfully turn classrooms into cool learning spaces where the aroma of fresh-baked ideas and the taste of literary adventures linger in the air. Let’s continue to share the joy of reading, just like passing around a plate of warm, freshly baked cookies — because when it comes to learning, sharing is caring.

Special thanks to SCGLR’s THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School team:

  • Karen Arnold
  • Shalia Moore-Hayes
  • Melissa Hirstein
  • Renée Isrel
  • Carol Kranitz
  • Maria Schaedler-Luera
  • Elsie Merrill
  • Carly Miers
  • Aileen Pena
  • Cinthia Pena
  • Cassidy Rickrode
  • Monique Thornton
  • Karen Windon

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