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Donations Help Reading Program

The Daily Independant (Website) - 2/11/2010 by Tim Preston
Campbell and Worthington elementaries receive 1,000 new books

RACELAND — Nationwide, people with plenty of paperbacks apparently appreciated the idea of lending their support to “a school district divided by a railroad track with a desire to work as one system.”

Students at Campbell Elementary and Worthington Elementary recently received 1,000 new books from patrons of paperbackswap.com who swapped their own credits to provide printed resources for students and their families.

Denise Justice, math coach and reading teacher, said she found the Web site while working on a way to transform her daughter’s immense, yet abandoned, collection of books into something useful.

“My daughter was an avid reader. I got rid of her books and got books that I wanted to read,” she said, chuckling.

Justice said she posted a brief description of the local schools, including information about free and reduced lunch rates as well as the desire to expand ongoing math and reading nights from Campbell to include Worthington, on the Web site.

Patrons were asked if they cared to donate credits generated by their own paperback swaps to help the local schools. Justice said she had the thrill of opening the first big box of books Monday morning.

“I’m looking at money here,” she said as she scanned a few of the price tags on the books, ranging from $3.48 to $8.99. “That’s roughly $3,000 to $4,000 on the low end.”

Justice said she appreciates the fact that book enthusiasts donated their credits, which could have been applied to their own transactions and shipping, to benefit the local students.

“These credits came from people from all over the U.S. To me, it says there are people out there who want to give something back to the community,” she said.

The new books will go home with students participating in the math and reading nights at both Campbell and Worthington. Justice said educators hope the books will then find their way into the imaginations of the original reader’s brothers and sisters.

Campbell Elementary Principal Jill Imes said the new paperback books will be well received there.

“Our students are just avid readers, even at the kindergarten level,” she said. “They are all just excited and grateful for these books, and we really appreciate all who logged on, voted and helped make this happen for us.”