Dexter students discover joy of reading

October 13, 2010 • Local News

Kylilea Roa, 2, and her sister hold their new books outside Dexter Elementary
School during the fifth annual Reading Roundup. (Emily Russo Miller Photo)

Most school libraries are deserted after hours, but on Tuesday evening, Dexter Elementary school children were running full speed toward the book shelves. Kids were allowed to choose one free book as part of the fifth annual Reading Roundup.

“We want reading to be fun,” said Nancy Miles, the school [auth] librarian who wore a denim shirt with a rocket patch on the pocket that read, “5-4-3-2- 1 READ.”

Dexter Elementary students receive three free books a year in conjunction with the largest children’s literary program in the nation called Reading is Fundamental. The nonprofit organization is supported by the Department of Education and motivates youngsters to read by delivering free, brand new books.

“Oh, what have you got there?” Dexter Middle School librarian Beth Harris asked a young boy perusing the nonfiction table.

“They have long tongues,” Leviathan Burrows, 3, responded, holding up a copy of “Chameleons are Cool.”

Reading is Fundamental raises three-quarters of the cost, around $3,000, and Dexter Community Sponsors donate the rest.

“A lot of the kids in the elementary do not have money to buy books for themselves,” Amy Deutsch, the district librarian, explained. Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the United States own no books, according to Reading is Fundamental’s website.

Over 1,000 books were on display Tuesday in the library, with seven tables of fiction and nonfiction novels at all reading levels.

“I want to get a chapter book so it can last,” Juan Peinado, a 10- year -old fifth-grader, declared. He flipped through “Amazing Things Animals Do,” but finally decided on “The Book of World Records, 2006.”

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