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Creston Elementary in new PPS 'Book Harvest'

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Creston School Principal Conrad Hurdle shows some of the many books that were recently donated during their first Childrens Book Harvest. Portland Public School Superintendent Carole Smith has made early literacy a top priority this school year. Accordingly, the first annual “Children’s Book Harvest” was held November 4-22 at Creston Elementary School, as well as some other area schools. “Gently used” children’s books – from preschool to elementary levels – were collected at this event, to redistribute to children needing encouragement in early reading habits. The availability of children’s reading books in the home is considered to be a critical element in developing early reading skills.

The Children’s Book Harvest partnered with local PTA's, New Seasons Markets, Rivermark Community Credit Unions, and the Children's Book Bank, to get as many children's books into homes as possible.

The goal was to collect 25,000 reading books for kids, with a special focus on nonfiction and Spanish language books. The Book Harvest requested board and picture books, chapter and non-fiction books, and books in other languages such as Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Somali, and Russian.

Creston School had a collection station on the office counter. Principal Conrad Hurdle was pleased to report to THE BEE that about a dozen boxes of books were contributed. The books were a colorful reminder that children are eager to read.

“We serve a diverse body of students here,” remarked Hurdle. "We want each child to be able to have a home library of dynamic and engaging literature. Overall, our goal is to inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime.”

Passing on children's books to others when your own kids have outgrown them is a wonderful way to give the gift of literacy to early readers. A used book in good shape makes a great alternative to handing out Hallowe’en candy or small prizes at parties, it is suggested. Many people recycle them at garage sales, school book stores, or thrift stores.

The Children’s Book Harvest is not looking for coloring or activity books, textbooks, or damaged books. But when a child learns vocabulary, sentence rhythms, and creative imagery from books targeted to his reading level, literacy becomes a lifelong joy and vital life skill. Books can take you anywhere, and early reading skills provide a strong foundation for success. For more information on this project, contact Larry Bingham or Erin Barnett in the PPS Communications Office.