American Association of University Women Share Love of Books to Students



By Kim Underwood

Ask any first-grader at South Fork Elementary School whether he or she owns a copy of Frog and Toad Are Friends and the answer will be “Yes!”

Through their Love Your Book project, the members of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women are putting books in the hands of students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Recently, they headed to South Fork with 90 copies of Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel.

“The first grade teachers here chose the book,” said Judy Atkinson, the co-chair of Love Your Book. When the chapter gave every first-grader at Ashley Academy for Cultural & Global Studies a book to call his or her own during the 2015-16 school year, they brought a variety of books. At South Fork, Atkinson said, the teachers thought it would be nice for every student to have the same book.

When the first-graders and their teachers gathered in the gym to receive their books, chapter member Ellen Morris asked the students, “How many of you would like to have a book that just belongs to you?”

Hands shot up.

A class at a time, the students came up and picked up their copies of the book. When students sat back down, they opened it up and began looking through it.

“We always enjoy giving to children,” said chapter member Betty Alexander. “That’s one of the joys in life – watching the next generation coming along.”

The principal, assistant principal and teachers at South Fork expressed appreciation for the gift.

“I think it shows our students that our community values reading and they value the students themselves,” said assistant principal Kim Kelley.

A number of members of the association are retired educators and some continue to volunteer in the school system as reading tutors with the Augustine Literacy Project. In thanking them, Joannell Gatling, the principal, said, “These are retired teachers who still realize and understand the importance of reading and of what we as a school and a district are trying to do for our kids. It’s wonderful. These kids will be able to take a book home today.”

Colleen Galvan, who teaches first grade, said her students love to read. Many of them don’t have a lot of books at home, though, so having one to take home is special. “Any time they have a book in their hands is amazing,” Galvan said.

The members of American Association of University Women who visited South Fork Elementary were: Judy Atkinson, Ashley Byrd, Vanessa Duren-Robinson, Marilyn Cardwell, Ellen Morris, Norma Bernhardt, and Betty Alexander.

Kim Underwood is the Communications Specialist, Marketing & Communications, for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

For more information on donating books to schools, please contact Jackie Pierson, Director of Library Media Services, at 336-727-2373 for guidelines and referral to school librarians.


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