Northeast Kingdom Students Receive Free Books

COURTESY PHOTO

Orleans Elementary School’s first-grade classroom was one of many Northeast Kingdom classrooms whose students received two free books each from the “My Books” program. Here students are seen unpacking and immediately starting to read.

Over 1000 Northeast Kingdom students in 27 schools were given the gift of 2 free books that they will use in the classroom and then take home to keep and share with their families. The books were distributed through the new "MyBooks" program, which was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Carl and Susan Taylor's Carl Gary Taylor Foundation for Children and Community National Bank.

"MyBooks" is a joint venture of publishers Brigantine Media of St. Johnsbury and Radiant Hen Publishing of Coventry and administered by Northeast Kingdom Learning Services. Most of the books given to students in grades kindergarten through five were written and illustrated by Vermonters. Teachers also received a copy of each book, each of which has free teacher resources and suggested activities that encourage literacy skills, healthy living and empathy.

Lara Starr, first-grade teacher at Orleans Elementary School, said, "We can use these books in our classroom, and it's wonderful that they can take them home to keep. Not every child has a lot of new books -- you can tell how excited they are when they open a book, close their eyes and smell the pages. Having books at home is important so they can read them again and again and share them with their parents."

Donor Susan Taylor was at the school herself to help deliver the books. She watched as Orleans first graders opened their set of "Issy Books" and began to read the beginner stories aloud. "They were so excited to look at the books and start reading them to themselves and with the other children," said Taylor. Author and Radiant Hen owner Tanya Sousa led a storytime session, reading her book "Fairy Feast" to the delight of the students.

The "MyBooks" program is currently seeking additional funding to be able to offer more books to Vermont schoolchildren. For more information about the "MyBooks" program, contact Neil Raphel of Brigantine Media: neil@brigantinemedia.com or by phone at 802-751-8802. For information about Northeast Kingdom Learning Services visit www.neklsvt.org.

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