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Brighton Rotary helps South Elementary create take-home library for young students

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — The Brighton Rotary has teamed up with staff at South Elementary School to create a take-home library for students in kindergarten through second grade. 

Megara Pullen of the Brighton Rotary said increasing literacy is an area of focus for Rotary Clubs and that the Brighton Rotary decided they wanted to do something that would have an impact locally. 

 

The Brighton Rotary chose to follow successful programs that Rotarians have implemented in Wheat Ridge and Arvada and were able to raise $1,250 to be used in Brighton. Their funds were matched by a $1,250 grant from the Rotary District and together $2,500 was used to purchase over a thousand books — in English and Spanish — across three grade levels.

“When the teachers at South Elementary received the funds and the outline, they ignited,” Pullen said. “Never have I seen such energy, focus, work, devotion and detailed organization in relationship to a donation.” 

Principal Kay Collins said the Rotary’s “Read to Me” program has provided the opportunity to put a take-home book in every Kindergarten, First and Second grade student’s backpack. Collins said the child and their parent can read together and that the parent is given some suggestions on how to use the book to help improve their child’s reading.

“Many of our students do not have a lot of different books at home to read and this program gives them different books through the week to take home,” she said.

Collins said the classroom libraries are set up so they may be rotated throughout the year to different classrooms, so students never have to take home the same book and can have a variety of books to choose from.

Kindergarten teacher Crystal White was among the teachers to receive books for their classroom and she said the books “supplement, support and enhance” her curriculum. 

In her class, the students check the book out like a library book and take it home with a worksheet where they can write and draw about their part of the book. When they’re done they’ll bring the book and the worksheet back to class with them.

White said she’s grateful for the books because she would never be able to furnish that number of books for her classroom. 

“We are very thankful to have these books in our room,” she said, adding she has seen her student’s excitement and love of reading bloom.

Collins is also grateful for the Rotary’s gift.

“We are so appreciative of the Rotary Club’s dedication to making an educational difference in the lives of our 27J students,” Collins said. “This program is invaluable and will continue for many years to engage our students and their parents with literature.”