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Importance of reading stressed in several book giveaways

Kindergarten students at Western Union Elementary are all smiles after getting their very own hardback book, “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad.” Pictured are, from left, Antonio Martins, Danyelle Cyntrelle McDowell, and Clairese Jackman.

Union County Public Schools students are learning the importance of reading thanks to the efforts of local groups giving hundreds of new books to UCPS children.

Western Union Elementary School, Wesley Chapel Elementary, Benton Heights Elementary, Marshville Elementary and Monroe Middle School are just five UCPS schools that have recently benefited from book donations.


Western Union Elementary School and Wesley Chapel Elementary were awarded approximately 700 books recently by the ReadMobile.

Western Union Elementary received 500 paperback books after winning an online contest, “Read for the Record,” sponsored by the ReadMobile, while Wesley Chapel received 170 books in the same contest.

“The Pearson Foundation challenged elementary schools around the country to read 150,000 books in 30 days online at We Give Books. That was accomplished in just 10 days,” said Wesley Chapel Elementary School Assistant Principal Daphne Sims Helms. “The 107 books that we earned were divided into reading levels and given to each teacher to add to their classroom library.”

Western Union Elementary teachers were thrilled with their 500 paperback books. “If you read 500 books online, you received 500 books for your school,” explained Western Union Elementary Media Coordinator Jessica Klutz.

“We read a lot of books, 500 books,” said 6-year-old Jordan Wilsm. “I read more than 400 books. Batman is my favorite book, because I like batman. I have a batman book. I read it a lot.”

The ReadMobile also brought all Western Union’s kindergarten students the hardback book, “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” on Monday (May 21, 2012).

“Western Union Elementary is very excited about this opportunity,” said the school’s principal, Rita Webb. “It’s absolutely unbelievable that they’ve given every kindergarten student his or her own hardback book. It’s fabulous. We spend so much time teaching them the importance of reading and having that daily habit, it’s important to have some materials to work with.”

First Book-Charlotte

Monroe Middle School, Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts and Marshville Elementary School have also benefited from book giveaways recently. Monroe Middle’s 900 students recently received an astonishing 3,600 new books (four books per student) donated by First Book-Charlotte. They also donated books to 700 children at Benton Heights Elementary School. Marshville Elementary principal Tom Childers said his school received three books for every student in grades K-5, a total of about 1,400 books.

A First Book-Charlotte representative, Brittany Slagle (also a teacher at Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts) said the goal of First Book-Charlotte is to establish home libraries in students’ homes. At Benton Heights, Slagle said each student has taken home about 30 books over the past three years.

The book giveaway event at Monroe Middle was called “Slam Dunk into Reading,” and featured Wingate University’s basketball players, their mascot and cheerleaders, who all came to the school to help share in the festivities by playing a few friendly basketball games with students. “No Limit Larry” from Power98 FM’s Morning Maddhouse and the Monroe Police Department also joined in the fun.

Angela Foster, assistant principal at Monroe Middle School, said the school received a $9,000 grant from First Book-Charlotte, allowing the school to order about 3,600 books for students. “We have a mixture, fiction and non fiction, and ordered books based on different reading abilities. We also got books to help them prepare for the SATs, and books about leadership. They’re for their home libraries.”

“I think it’s very good for us,” said Anthony Lopez, 12, sixth grade. “Most of us really don’t like reading, but with these new books, maybe we could get used to reading more.”

“I’m so happy about getting these books, because I love reading,” said Whitney Demera, 11, a sixth-grader. “I got four books. I’m so excited.”

To add a little extra bit of fun, Monroe Middle School teachers wrapped the books like presents. “It just makes it more fun for the students to open them up, and it’s neat to see the looks on their faces when they see the different titles,” Foster said.

At Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts, 700 students received 10 books per child. According to the school’s media coordinator, Beth Lanzy, over the 2011-2012 academic year, the organization has granted a total of 8,400 books to students at her school, with a retail value of approximately $84,000,

Rufus, the Charlotte Bobcats’ mascot attended the Benton Heights event, performing the program “Reading with Rufus” in order to motivate and encourage students to set goals and encourage reading growth.

For more information about these two agencies, visit their web sites at www.firstbookcharlotte.org or www.wegivebooks.org


Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: May 24, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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