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Vista Alternative students find their book ‘match’

Vista Alternative High School classes received a donation of more than 150 books from members of the Yuma community that were matched to students in teacher Hilary Brown’s English and literature classes. The books were accompanied by personalized letters from the donors that explained why the book was meaningful.

On the first day of school, students participated in what Brown creatively referred to as "Speed Dating a Book." The students filled out interest inventories to find their "'type," then took time reading the letters sent by community members. Brown played the role of “match-maker” as students were then matched with a book based on their top three book-love interests. Students have begun reading their books and have since sent letters in response to the person who wrote in the front cover of their chosen book.

Brown said the donation served as motivation for her students. “On the first day of school, I was able to tell my students, ‘If you ever feel like your success doesn't matter to anyone, remember that there are at least 112 people who are rooting for you. They donated these books and wrote these letters because they believe in you enough to invest in your experience at school.’ My students couldn't believe that people took the time to write to them and send them their favorite books.”

Eric Patten