Free books for all first graders

Students chose the books from a list supplied by the Quakertown Community Education Foundation, which spent $2,500 on the gifts to help “foster the love of reading.”
Posted on 06/07/2022
Students react as their teacher is about to give away a book.By Gary Weckselblatt

Each Quakertown Community School District first grader is going home for the summer with a new book, compliments of the Quakertown Community Education Foundation.

“It’s a way for the foundation to do something that touches and impacts every first grader,” said Stephanie Zajkowski, QCEF’s president. “We believe it will foster the love of reading at the end of the school year and heading into summer.”

Approximately 303 books were handed out. Students were given the opportunity to choose among several titles, including Fly High, Fly Guy!; Can I Play Too; Frog and Toad Are Friends; Baby Animals; Planets, Jump, Pup, Coral Reefs; Swing, Sloth, and Magic Tree House.

“First grade is such a crucial year for students in the development of their reading skills,” said Dr. Erin Oleksa-Carter, Supervisor of Elementary Programs. “We believe this will help them continue to grow as readers, and develop their love of reading.”

The total cost for the books is $2,500. “We’re always looking for opportunities to enhance the educational environment,” Mrs. Zajkowski said.

The concept began about five years ago, and was proposed by Robert Leight, a former school director and QCEF member, who described first grade as the “entry into literacy.”

Richland Elementary School first-grade teachers were excited to hand out books to their students on Monday. “They picked their book in March, and have been asking when they’ll be arriving,” said Natasha Scholl. “They’ve definitely been thinking about it. It will help build their enthusiasm for reading, especially during the summer.”

Fellow first-grade teacher Laura Ketterer said, “We are so grateful that QCEF donates high-quality children’s literature into the hands of our first graders. The kids were so excited! They started reading the books right away.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected]
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