READING TAKES CENTER STAGE IN UNION, THANKS IN PART TO $750 GRANT
Vivian Matthews wants every child to have a home library.
People can donate $10 for third-grade students to start a home library, she said. Research shows that if a kid chooses a book and owns it, they are more likely to read. If they dont have a library in place by the third grade, they wont be readers as adults.
The third-grade reading program is part of a Book Buddy program through which students buy books from school organizations that offer books for as little as 50 cents each.
Matthews, an English teacher at Union High School, has several tricks to keep young people reading. She has started a book club for teen-agers and adults using $750 from the Union County Together Program.
The high-school students choose a book and we buy 13 copies, she said. Teens and adults read these books and we have book discussions.
Its been very successful.
The students most recently chose Jules Vernes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Some of the students and some of the adults are having a hard time getting into that book, Matthews said. Sometimes we like the books and sometimes we dont, but the students choose them. When students choose their books, they are more likely to read.
The programs are part of UnI on Reading, started in 2000 by Matthews and Kathy Sargent of the Union Family Resource Center. Matthews has enlisted help from the school librarian, Patty Herron, and the city librarian, Louise Weeks, who organized a summer reading program.
Weeks has also organized monthly family reading nights at the library.
Our mission is to instill a lifelong love of reading in Union people not just kids, Matthews said.
UnI on Reading also includes an accelerated reading plan open to all Union residents. Under that program, students and adults read a book of their choice and take a computer test on the book. A successful test score earns points, and high points earn a treat. Elementary school students use their points to buy items from the school store.
Weve enhanced the program by inviting parents and others to join in, Matthews said. We buy T-shirts for the students and adults who have met their goal.
Matthews hopes to get another grant from a federal program, known as First Book that helps young children create home libraries.