As kindergarten students from Kelly Allen’s class entered a Will Rogers Elementary School classroom where piles of children’s book lay, comments such as “wow” and “this book is awesome” could be heard from the young students.
Thursday marked the third and final distribution of children’s books at Will Rogers Elementary School through a program by Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest literacy organization founded in 1966. The non-profit aims to get books in the hands of youth readers. Grant funding for the program at Will Rogers Elementary School is provided by Dollar General.
Three times a year, the students are given the opportunity to pick out a book to take home to read and keep on their own bookshelf, says Lisa Wright, librarian at the school for kindergarten, pre-kindergarten and Head Start students.
“This ensures that they have books to read at home,” Wright says. “There are a variety of books they can chose from, and they pick out the book that they like best.”
The program’s goal is that the students receive three new books a year and read them often, aiding in improving their literacy skills.
Books are selected by Wright, who strives to order the books that will get students excited about reading and keep reading.
Displayed on a table, books presented were from The Berenstain Bears, Curious George, and Clifford series. Additionally, “A Pocket for Corduroy,” “Marley’s Big Adventure,” books about cars and many books featuring animals on the cover were displayed for students to consider.
As class after class made their way into the classroom to select a book, the students didn’t spend much time picking. After a book was in their hands, they sat in the hallway flipping through their latest book and began to read.
Wright says the program helps students create their own libraries at home. Some students have shared with the school librarian that they don’t have books to read when they are home during the summer.
“They look forward to it,” Wright says. “They will receive three books a year, each year that they are at Will Rogers. The program continues in the upper elementary schools. They have the potential to receive several books over the years.”