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Local students collect books for needy kids

Sixth-grader spearheads book drive for Canyon Country students

Posted: January 5, 2009 8:25 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Canyon Country students from the Kumon Math and Reading Center recently donated more than 250 new and "gently used" books to El Dorado Elementary School and spent an afternoon reading to younger students.

 

Canyon Country students from the Kumon Math and Reading Center recently donated more than 250 new and "gently used" books to El Dorado Elementary School and spent an afternoon reading to younger students.

Sixth-grader Shanti Iyenger from Pine Tree Elementary spearheaded the book drive efforts with BookEnds, a local nonprofit organization that recycles children's books through book drives.

"I asked my instructor at Kumon if we could do a book drive," Iyenger said. "My teacher was giving away books from his class that he didn't need anymore and I had a lot of books that I really didn't need, so I thought maybe we could give them to other kids."

Iyenger enlisted the help of several other students to manage the donated books.

"My instructor and I and the other helpers informed the kids (at Kumon) about the book drive, and suddenly a lot of books came piling in," she said. "I told them that we would be helping kids."

Kumon is an after-school math and reading program that uses a systematic individualized approach that helps children develop a command of math and reading skills.

"My students were excited to visit the school and share their love of reading with others," said Kumon instructor Dorothy Javellana. "The room was filled with so much excitement you'd think we were giving out candy!"

"The beauty of this program is that students are able to re-purpose something they are not using anymore," said BookEnds Director of Programs Emily Beecher. "By providing access to books, we give children resources to develop literacy skills and experience the joy and imagination of reading."

Iyenger said the best part of the project is giving other kids learning materials.

"My favorite part was knowing that I'm helping other kids with their reading," she said. "Reading teaches me things about life. It teaches me more about our world, more about our country and more about other countries."

She hopes these books help kids with their vocabulary and reading skills and add to their recreational enjoyment.

"A book can make people happy," she said.

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