By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Audrey Martin, 6, clung to a copy of "Uncle Jed's Barbershop" by Margaree King Mitchell and James E. Ransome Monday in the Clements-Parsons Elementary School library.
Martin said she likes to read library books as she stood surrounded by books and other children. But the book she held was special, because it was hers to take home.
"Every table has loads of books," said Marianna McDonnell, a member of the Copperas Cove Retired Teachers Association. A total of 117 kindergartners selected a book to take home.
In March, the association started distributing children's books to kindergarten students throughout the district. Monday's stop at Clements-Parsons was the first of several more deliveries scheduled to take place in April.
The group purchased enough children's books for every kindergarten student in Copperas Cove Independent School District Title I schools and enough books for classrooms at House Creek Elementary, said McDonnell. "Since (House Creek) is a new school, we wanted to make sure that the kindergarten teachers have plenty of books in the new classrooms."
The group of retired teachers wants to encourage students to become lifelong readers; giving children books is a good way to do this, said Robin Spencer, a librarian at Clements-Parsons.
"The more that we put books in the hand of kids, the better readers they become," said Spencer. "To be able to give books to the early readers, that is the key. We want to give the students the emotions connected to reading and for them to grab on to those emotions."
Books were collected throughout the year by the teachers' association through its Child's Book Project Committee, said McDonnell.
Committee members raised money through donations and memorial contributions.
"The most fun for retired teachers is still to get books and children together," said McDonnell.
"Our dedication is to kindergartners because they are the new readers."
Owning a book and reading encourages children to learn more about what they're interested in.
Matthew Beck, 6, who is interested in cars, chose "Volcano Blast," a book featuring Hot Wheels.
"I like cars, and I like reading," said Beck, who reads six days a week. "I like it because it makes you smart. I have a shelf of books."
Patricia Wright, a retired Copperas Cove teacher, said seeing the joy on children's faces when they choose a book makes the donations worthwhile.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.