AZ Agricultural Literacy Days
What is AZ Agricultural Literacy Days?
AZ Agricultural Literacy Days is a free program that focuses on educating Arizona students about our connection to agriculture and the commodities produced on Arizona's lands. We do this because so many of our youth don't know where our food and clothing comes from. Young children often think that it magically appears in the grocery and retail stores.
We educate youth through the support of volunteers who read a provided book on agriculture to elementary school students and then donate that book to the class library. When the program began in 2005, we envisioned farmers and other agriculturalist being the ones to help teach how we are all connected to agriculture. Over the years, we came to find that others within the community who aren't farmers or agriculturalist, but also feel passionate about our land, wanted to share with students where our food and clothing begins.
AZ Agricultural Literacy Days are scheduled every year in the fall with a special emphasis during the three days before Thanksgiving. What better time of the year to show our gratitude to Arizona farmers and agriculturalist than during the Thanksgiving season!
The 2020 AZ Agricultural Literacy Days are held end of October through November.
General Steps to Participate
- Let us know you're interested in volunteering by clicking here.
- Talk with a teacher (or teachers) about reading and submit their email addresses.
- Receive a copy (or copies) of Arizona Agriculture: Bee's Amazing Adventure.
- Read to students.
- Complete a brief online report (estimation of time with students & people present).
Registration and Participation
1. Let Us Know You're Interested
During this time of "distance learning," we are pleased to offer a VIRTUAL presentation for students. This program is designed to have either the teacher or an agricultural volunteer to present.
If you are a teacher, and you want to share the book with your students, then you will be both the volunteer and the teacher. As the volunteer, you will need to register AND complete a report. As the teacher, you will need to complete the feedback form. Ideally we ask that you have at least one other class and its teacher join you and your students during the reading. Each of the additional teachers will also receive their own copy of Bee's Amazing Adventure. Due to the audience, in these situations, we strongly encourage the use of the digital-book found in the Teachers link.
2. Volunteers: Talk with a Teacher
In the follow-up email we send you, we'll ask you to send us the emails of the teachers of the students to whom you want to read. If you're a family member of an elementary student, that child's classroom is a great place to start! Maybe an elementary school closer to you is more convenient. Maybe you already have a grade level that you want to read to and the school secretary can direct you to those teachers. Maybe you're open to any grade, then perhaps the librarian can help identify teachers that may be interested in your visit.
When you talk with the teachers, explain how you'd like to read to their students as part of AZ Agricultural Literacy Days. Explain that it's a free program that uses volunteers to help educate students about our connection to Arizona agriculture. Tell them that you have a copy of the first children's book entirely dedicated to Arizona agriculture and that you'd like to read it and donate a copy to their classroom library.
Some volunteers who have a background in agriculture or education like to add to their visit by incorporating more discussion and activities. Doing more than reading the book and leading a discussion about its content is optional and beyond any expectation of the program. Just be sure to explain to the teachers how you envision your visit will go. It may be helpful to direct them to our website and provide them with a flyer about the program.
If you can, go ahead and schedule a specific date and time for your visit (be sure to give us at least 10 business days for preparing and shipping). If not, just get a verbal commitment to make the visit happen sometime before Winter Break.
Then send us the email addresses of the teachers who are on board.
3. Receive a Book in the Mail and an Electronic Copy
Before we mail the book(s) or send the electronic link, we will email each of the teachers and copy you on the email. This is our way of not sending out books too early, which has resulted in books not being donated to the classrooms.
Once we hear from the teachers you've contacted, we will email you once more to confirm your mailing address and final book numbers.
Upon confirmation, plan to receive your copies of the book to read and donate within 10 business days.
4. Read to the Students
Once you receive your copies of the book, be sure to take some time to read it through. Towards the end of the book are helpful tips for making your visit a memorable experience.
Depending on how long you plan to visit the classroom, you may want to incorporate an activity that can be found on the Resources webpage.
During your visit, be sure to lead a discussion about the book's content, answer the students' questions, and explain why you felt it was important to come visit.
Before you leave, take a moment to number how many students are present. We will need that number when you complete your report. We've provided a People Present Form as a way to get exact numbers. Some volunteers find it helpful to simply give this form to the teachers before reading the book, asking them to complete it, and picking it up before they leave.
5. Complete a Brief Online Report
After your visit, hopefully within 24 hours, take 90 seconds to complete a brief online report (we just ask for your name; where, when, & how long you read, number of people present; and any suggestions/feedback).
Please note, we will need an individual report for each time you read the book.