Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This program instills the love of reading in kids…but it needs more books

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)

Teaching a child to read is no easy feat, and teaching a child to love books and reading is another obstacle in itself.

At Machen Elementary School in Hampton, children have the opportunity to read with another adult, volunteers from the community, through their “Book Buddies Program,” a practice that helps instill that love for reading, said Adrienne Woods, the school’s family engagement specialist.

“It’s that back and forth connection that helps them to love reading and know that reading is fun,” she said.

In a partnership with Joint Base Langley-Eustis, nearly 20 military members come to the school during kindergarten through third graders’ “independent reading time” when Woods said the children will receive a book from their teachers to read with their “buddies.”

Recently implementing the program last October, Woods said the school is hoping to expand book options for the students and their new reading partners by hosting a donation drive for age-appropriate new or gently used books.

“We are looking for books for kindergarten through third grade or entry-level reader books and stories that the kids will be interested in listening to and learning about,” she said.

Partnering with community-based organizations is part of a “strategic plan” that goes back to the school division’s vision and mission to collaborate with the community, said Kellie Goral, a spokeswoman for the Hampton City Schools.

Machen also has partnerships with faith-based organizations in the area that sponsor before and after school programs or provides volunteers for the school events.

Woods also said the team is looking to expand the reading program to fourth and fifth-grade students once they have enough volunteers.

“We’re just excited about having people from the community coming in to read to our kids,” said Jennifer Humble, principal at Machen Elementary. “We know how important that is at such a young age to instill that love and that joy of reading.”

Donated books can be dropped off at Machen Elementary School’s front desk during school hours, 20 Sacramento Drive, or click here for more information.

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