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BWS Library Opens its Doors!

September-October 2021

This year we have Library classes 5 days a week. That means our volunteers are more spread out and pitch in with reading aloud each week. The scholars returned to school so ready to read!

This year began with an introduction of the over 60 new science books given to our Library. Ann Wang truly updated a popular section of our Library-the 500’s or Natural Science. Young people can be scientists by using their eyes and ears to observe change in nature all around. We explored the changes to the trees with What John Marco Saw and Little Tree, among other titles. The difference between fact books and storybooks became clear with National Geographic selections.

Let’s Play Ball!

After 18 months of absence, we wanted to reintroduce the library collection to our scholars. New books had been added, old ones weeded out and shelves rearranged. Could we make these books fly off the shelves? We needed a reading incentive game and Barbara Ochmanek devised a clever way of combining game strategy with exposure to the historic tales of The Negro Leaguesand players like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Grades 2-5 competed under the banners of old team names. Each book read delivered a hit for the team. MVP awards went to biggest hitters and Team Player sportsmanship awards went to those who prevented errors for their team by tidying up. Each day equaled an inning and each reader’s progress posted until the Team won in the 9th.

The range of baseball biographies came from our collection, purchased new or collected

from the DC Public Library. We had a wide variety to offer our scholars. They now know as much about Satchel Paige and Peanut Johnson as they do about Jackie Robinson.


Here are the STATS:


  • 3rd grader Akin read the most baseball books-16.

  • 4th grader Toluwani, our 3 time MVP, was Champion Reader of The Games with 32 books read leading to 24 runs for the KC Monarchs.

  • All 4 grades had players on the All Star Team, scoring at least 22 each.

  • Our books checked out went from 44 Week One to a high of 209 books checked out by students and staff in Week Four. Graphic Novels, Wimpy Kids, Dragon Master series and leveled books on Super Heroes=big hits.

All this fuss about Play Ball for grades 2-5 did not interfere with a lively program for those boys who are just learning to read and appreciate good stories in Kindergarten and 1st grade.

Our newest volunteer and dear friend of the BWS Village, Sandi Hannibal, offered a challenge to our 1st graders: compare and contrast the old favorite Caps for Sale with the Ghanaian version The Hat Seller and the Monkeys.

For one class, Susan read a story into the Zoom screen so that a class that was in Distance Learning could still get the library experience.

For Early Primary we always check in early with the masters such as Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak and Mo Willems to ensure that our scholars have a baseline of fanciful and humorous tales. Each week the two classes took crates of books aimed at their levels of interest and pre-reading skills back to their classrooms.

The Library also supported teachers with their social studies curriculum this fall. We

delivered crates of books to various classes for read-alouds or research. From Kindergarten weather and home/shelter studies to 1st grade families and identity to 3rd grade Eastern Hemisphere country and culture studies, we filled boxes and boxes with new and pertinent books from our recently refined collection.

Dragons, monsters and things that go bump in the night led us to the first of our Festivals of Light-Halloween. Heather brought the drama by reading this ghost story to 2nd grade.

On a final note, we awarded Barbara Ochmanek an original Louisville Slugger baseball bat in gratitude for her daily (and weekend) efforts to create the Play Ball game, recording

reading hits of each scholar daily for 6 weeks. Her enthusiasm and dedication knocked it out of the park!

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