Free books for children at Woodland Elementary School READ Up program

SILVERDALE — Woodlands Elementary School has been the site of an invasion.

More than a 1,000 books have been delivered to the Central Kitsap school where children — and not just CK students — can take them home, completely free of charge, thanks to a grant awarded by the Children’s Reading Foundation.

“It was a grant to access many, many, many free books for your community,” said Molly Evans, a curriculum specialist at Central Kitsap School District. “I wrote the grant and, luckily, was successful. I was just tickled to get it, and tickled to get over a thousand books.”

Evans said books ranging from infant-appropriate to third- and fourth-grade reading level were sent to be handed out. But they aren’t just handing them out. They’re also reading them aloud with their students, and any other family who chooses to join them.

“We have parents who are there to see how to read to their kids, see how fun it is,” Evans said. “Kids listen to a story and then, all these books are set out. Every child who attends can take a free book home.”

Evans said they’re holding this program, called “READ Up,” in conjunction with summer school. She said third graders who struggle with reading skills are invited to attend summer school, and beyond that, summer reading helps combat the “summer slide” of learning that tends to occur between the school years.

“What we know, overall in education, not just in Central Kitsap, is that kids who don’t practice reading don’t get better at reading,” Evans said. “We also know that if families don’t have a lot of discretionary income, there aren’t typically a lot of books in the home. Districts can provide awesome summer school programs, but really, the best things for kids to do over summer is just read.”

READ Ups began on July 18 and are taking place at 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through Aug. 16 at Woodlands Elementary School, 7420 Central Valley Road NE, Bremerton.

Near the end of the school year, fliers were sent home with students to inform families about this program. “What we’ve heard from families is, they’re very excited and plan to attend,” Evans said.

On top of that, the 90 students enrolled in summer school are participating in the READ Up program.

Evans said they have a nice mix of nonfiction and fiction, some rhyming books, chapter books, and generally a lot of “fabulous, brand new books.”

“There are some really great classic titles, like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ ‘Because of Winn-Dixie,’ great titles everyone has known for years and loved,” she said.

For more information on the READ Up program, visit ckschools.org.

— Michelle Beahm is online editor for Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at mbeahm@soundpublishing.com.

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