True Story

Teaching in a deprived area, Mrs. B. used the web site to request donations to buy sentence-composing books.  Her words:

Reading for College!

My Students

Coming of age in an impoverished, pessimistic neighborhood, learning to use writing as a tool for coping and escaping, obsessed with moving on, getting out of the neighborhood and aspiring to bigger and better things–is this The House on Mango Street or my students? The answer: both.

Located in a rural, diminishing town, my school strives to give our students the best education possible. In the past few years we witnessed continual economic devastation, leaving our school with fewer funds and our students with fewer possibilities. In this light, I have been assigned to teach English 12B: the last course English course students will take before going to college. Despite their poor circumstances, my students realize the importance of a college education and the majority have already applied and been accepted to colleges and universities. Therefore, I feel a great responsibility to give these students the most preparatory English class they have had yet and get them ready for the next step of their educational journey.

My Project

In order to best prepare my students, I need copies of high-interest, college level books. The best book for this task is The House on Mango Street, a book I was introduced to in college. The book is not only listed on AP syllabus around the country and taught in many college classes, but also contains astounding parallels between my students’ lives and those of the characters. Using this book in my classroom will win two battles for me: exposing my students to college-prep material and maintaining a high level of interest during their last months of high school.

A great supplement to this novel is the Sentence Composing for College Writing workbook. Our school already teaches the high school version in the previous 3 years, so our seniors are ready for the college writing curriculum. We’ve seen astounding improvements in their writing from the high school version; therefore, I know the college workbook would help them make vast strides towards becoming effective college writers.

Your generous donations will help my curriculum achieve the level of college preparation my senior students deserve. The knowledge they received from these resources will help them become successful college students, something that priceless in our society.

My students need 35 copies of the high-interest, AP novel, The House on Mango Street, supplemented with work from the successful Sentence Composing for College Writing.


This project was funded–almost immediately–through donations.  Among the donors were Bill and Melinda Gates.