Imagine walking into your neighborhood bookstore. You stroll down the aisle, stopping to peruse the names of authors and titles, looking for that one perfect book — the one that catapults you into a different world, time or place. Then, your eye spots it: the book that will become your companion for the next few weeks; the one that you will keep with you until that last page has been flipped.
You gingerly pull the book away from the others, opening the cover to release that new ink and paper smell. You take your find up to the register so you can check out and begin your literary journey as soon as possible.
But, as you reach for your wallet, the cashier tells you there is no charge today.
This book is yours for the taking.
That is exactly what happened to students at Luxford Elementary this year.
The school held a book giveaway, where students got to review a list of biographies ranging from Albert Einstein to Taylor Swift, then pick out their own book to take home and add to their personal library completely free of charge.
This giveaway was just one in a series of activities designed to make reading more accessible and more impactful for students, said principal Joanne D’Agostino.
“Giving books away is not new for us,” D’Agostino said.
It began with a series of parent workshops to help parents broaden their understanding of their child’s curriculum. When parents came, students and parents would get gifts – reading books, activity books and pencils to name a few.
Additionally, the school would put together Summer Learning Packets— complete with books for students— as well as packets for winter and spring break to help reinforce learning while not in school.
“We want to give them something good and quality to do,” D’Agostino said. “And it’s involving parents and children and trying to be very purposeful about it.”
In lieu of just another giveaway though, staff wanted to do something to give the students ownership of their reading: let them choose what books they want to read.
“It really is a dedicated effort to get the right book into their hands,” D’Agostino said. “(Giving students) the choice and the good literature is going to build momentum – it all complements each other.”
The giveaway proved to be a huge success, D’Agostino said. Students were thrilled to be able to get their book (and were even able to pick out additional books that were left over from previous orders), and were eager to read them.
“There’s nothing better for a kid to do than to read,” D’Agostino said. “For us to put books in kids’ hands is huge.”
This is a closer look at literacy efforts throughout the school division.