The Summer Feed and Read Program has made a big splash in the community. Tina Schnieder and Shannon Barnard, two of the people who spearheaded the program at the Middlesboro Elementary School, couldn’t be happier with the results they’ve seen.
Through the LINK Grant (Literacy Innovations for Neighborhoods in Kentucky) and cooperation with the local library and the Children’s Reading Foundation, the school has been able to provide books for the children to stimulate an interest in reading and curb drop in retention children face with reading during the summer break.
Schneider stated the origin of the Feed and Read Program began when the school executed a project where they would give the students five books at the end of the year to take home with them.
“From giving the books to them at the last day of school it went to giving out books to the students that are participating in Middlesboro Food Service lunch program,” said Schneider.
Feed and Read differs from the local Bookmobile in that the children get to keep the books they are given. The books were acquired from various sources such as the LINK grant, The Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia, The Middlesboro Library, the local Parent and Teacher Organization and a portion of the school’s budget.
“The turnout has been so good we plan on doing it again next year. The middle school and high school, who also have the LINK grant, are going to join us,” said Barnard.
“It’s really good for our kids. Because when you go through the school and you talk to them, there are a lot of kids who don’t have books in the home,” she added.
Schneider conservatively estimates that 500 books have been given away so far.
Any child under 18 years old can come and get a book, there are no other qualifications they need to meet.
Anybody who wants to participate in the program can do so by volunteering or donating books themselves.
Middlesboro Elementary School principal Randy Rose said, “It’s just a great partnership between our school system, the public library and The Children’s Reading Foundation and how they’re working together to put a lot of books in kids’ hands over the summer…just to see the kids, how much they are enjoying this, it’s a great thing that we’re doing this.”
Reach Tyler Eschberger at 606-248-1010, ext. 1126 or on Twitter @TylerEsch89.