students with books

Riverview seventh-graders pose with books purchased this year with a Plymouth Education Foundation grant.

Grant provides books for 7th-graders

Posted December 6, 2021

Riverview Middle School has many more book choices for its seventh-graders, thanks to a grant from the Plymouth Education Foundation.

Teacher Sara Turenne wanted to engage students in reading novels with high-interest topics that also discuss the social issues that teens are facing, along with some survival books that correlate to science and social studies.

“It is important that we are creating lifelong readers and help students to get their hands on books that are both interesting and well written,” she wrote in the grant application. “I’m always looking for the next up-and-coming book to share with my students.”

The grant supports the district Academic Excellence for the 21st Century Pillar by helping “to create well-rounded, engaged, contributing members of society and open-minded, lifelong learners.”

Some of the books were chosen because of high student interest in the topic. For example, her students enjoy survival stories and were interested in the 2018 camp fire disaster in Paradise, Calif., so Ms. Turenne ordered a classroom set of “I Escaped the California Camp Fire” by Scott Peters.

The $1,410 grant also purchased a classroom set of “Dry” by Neal Shusterman about a teen forced to make life-and-death decisions for her family during a drought, as well as five copies each of 12 other titles, including “The Thing About Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin because students enjoyed learning about jellyfish in science class.

Students also appreciate novels that relate to their own lives or the lives of their friends, so some of the novels deal with topics such as autism, anxiety, and being gifted and talented. “My classroom is an all-inclusive classroom,” Ms. Turenne noted. “We have students of varying ability levels, some with disabilities and many with varying life experiences. These students need access to books with both varying levels of engagement and reading levels.”

Other books address social issues, as the Academic Pillar also aims to provide students with opportunities to apply newfound knowledge toward making helpful and positive changes in their community. “I believe that we can help in this area by reading the books that address social issues and having classroom discussions about some of the topics to increase empathy and understanding of other people,” Ms. Turenne wrote.

Learn more:
• Read about the Plymouth Education Foundation grant in support of new science stations in the Plymouth High School agriculture classroom.
• Read about the Plymouth Education Foundation grant in support of a laser engraver at Riverview Middle School.
• Visit the Plymouth Education Foundation Grants webpage.
• Read more about our Pillars of Excellence.