“WORCESTER: THE CITY THAT READS” BOOK DRIVE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!
By John Monfredo, retired WPS teacher and principal and former WSC member
“Worcester: the City that Reads” 19th Annual K to grade 8 Book Drive, which started in late March and ended in June, was a huge success! My wife Annemarie, also a retired WPS teacher (Nelson Place), and I started doing book drives years ago through the organization that we started and have collected over a million books.
We were able to collect more than 25,000 books this year and have finished sorting them by grade levels, Pre-K to grade 3, grades 4 to 6 and grades 7 to 8. We have sent the books to the elementary and middle schools of the Worcester Public Schools for summer reading. Books have also been distributed to local homeless shelters, Head Start, and to non-profit groups and private and public summer school programs. We also received a good number of adult books which we sent to the Senior Center, Worcester Public Schools adult learning center and the Worcester Public Library. If we missed any organization looking for books for summer reading, we do have some available. Just contact us.
Over 25 sites across Worcester were involved as collection sites, and we want to thank the many individuals within this community who also contributed: the businesses, social organizations, and the many private and public schools and colleges that assisted in the drive were so helpful! It was a real team effort! My wife and I put in more than 300 volunteer hours for this campaign, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor if you want to put books into the hands of students.
The books, during the drive, were stored at Worcester Technical High School garage area. Senior Custodian Paul Jarvis and his crew were a tremendous help to us and accommodated our needs for additional space. In addition, the WPS school’s facilities department assisted in transporting the books to many elementary and middle schools.
With school out, the summer reading process begins! This book drive has started the summer reading process, but it has to be a cooperative venture. We know that reading is most effective when parents or family members provide reading guidance. Parents, you are the key this summer! Our advice is to pick just one idea a week to kick start your week’s literacy adventures but include a wide range of literacy fun for the whole family. Be sure to embrace the theme of having your child read each day for 30 minutes. Remember, reading time does not take a vacation. Those who know how to read SUCCEED!
How important is summer reading? Well, research has pointed out that children not reading in the summer months tend to lose two to three months of academic growth. This is better known as the “Summer Slide.”
According to research on literacy, studies clearly indicate that children in homes that have books and read them are more likely to succeed in school. One study found that the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success, regardless of one’s family background. Let me just end this column with a quote from the famous Walt Disney: “There is more treasure in books than in the entire pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” We all need to reach out to our parents and children and encourage read-alouds, reading at home, reading in the park … reading for fun! Let’s do it!