The Kitsap Mall has partnered with the Central Kitsap School District in an effort to get 2,018 books donated for local elementary school students.
The Buy the Book program asks local shoppers to both purchase and donate books at Barnes & Noble, which will have them in the children’s book department and at a table near the mall entrance.
A list of books will be provided there, but prospective shoppers can also view it at http://bit.ly/2MK7RSR.
The titles were chosen because they align to what Central Kitsap teachers are teaching in the classroom.
“Each grade level has a list of books, and we want six of each title so in the classroom teachers can be running small groups with children having authentic literature in their hands,” Central Kitsap’s Jill Carlson said.
Superintendent David McVicker said it’s been about five years since the schools have had such a large investment in literature.
“When we’re talking about group sets of books in a classroom, that’s usually left up to either a small building budget or classroom teachers — they’ll go out and purchase some on their own,” he said. “So, this gives us a real opportunity by partnering with the mall to put a significant amount of well-connected books from an instructional side into classrooms across the district.”
It’s all part of an effort to get reading levels up across the district. One particular goal is to raise reading achievement rates by the time students reach third grade.
“If kids can’t read by third grade, then we typically might have more issues with them later in life,” Carlson said. She said third grade reading levels can be used to predict things high school graduation and dropout rates.
The idea for the book drive came about when the Silverdale Rotary Club was asked for some funds to purchase books for a school library. Erin Leedham is the mall’s general manager. She happens to be a Rotarian as well.
“Rotary, of course, said yes to that immediately,” she said. “Then, I came back to the mall office, and we were talking about doing some kind of back to school project. We realized there was really a need for books. So, after everybody put their heads together, we decided we needed to do a book drive.”
She found a sponsor for the Buy the Book event in His Hands Landscaping, which put up some collateral to get things started. The book drive began August 10, and it’ll run through September. It’s part a new initiative at the mall called Live 360, which aims to support the community by making the mall more of a public space. Recent events have included free yoga classes, photography classes and financial workshops. The mall will also be hosting some events for the local 4-H club.