Children reading are children learning, which is why a countywide effort is under way to get books into the hands of youngsters in Ohio County Schools.
Two book drives will take place next week. The "Students Helping Students" drive will be Nov. 8-12 in Ohio County's public elementary and middle schools. Several local churches, organizations and businesses have been invited to participate in the "Community Helping Students" book drive that will take place Nov. 7-14.
In both book drives, new or gently used books are needed, and "Early Readers" and "Chapter Books" would be appreciated. Encyclopedias and references books cannot be used for the program.
Collecting books for Ohio County Schools students are, front row from left, Linda Comins, chair of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church Outreach Program; Deb Allen, Ohio County Family Resource Network executive director and Deborah Troeger, Woodsdale Elementary School Volunteer Reading Tutorial Program coordinator; back row, Ohio County Schools Superintendent George Krelis, left, and WesBanco Vice President Jeremy West.
The books go to students participating in Ohio County Schools' Volunteer Reading Tutorial Program and after-school tutorial programs that focus on improving literacy skills. Those students will have the opportunity to earn books as they achieve established goals. The program is a partnership between The Educational Readiness Committee of the Ohio County Family Resource Network and Ohio County Schools.
Kim Miller, Ohio County Schools Student Services director, said the book drives are important because books stimulate the minds and imaginations of children.
"We want to make sure there is a book in the hand of every child," Miller said. "We want them to find something they are interested in, and that's why we hope to get books on so many topics. We want them to enjoy reading. The more they enjoy reading, the more they will learn."
Deb Allen, Ohio County Family Resource Network executive director, said the book drive is in its third year. She said grant funding allows the supplemental reading materials program to offer a variety of books to the children, who have to earn the books they receive. She said she encourages members of the community to donate books that are not being used.
"The books used in the supplemental reading program provide rewards to deserving students who have accomplished a goal," Allen said. "The books improve their skills, and build in them a love of reading. I'm sure there are families that have wonderful books not being used, and donating to the book drive is a way the books can be put to good use."
Allen said she appreciates the support of WesBanco, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Ohio County Rotary Club, Riesbeck's and Kiducation.
The Ohio County Family Resource Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donation checks, made payable to the Ohio County Family Resource Network, can be sent to the network, 3700 Wood St., Wheeling, WV 26003. For information, call Allen, 304-243-0470.