Free book speaks volumes about PO school

Every student attending Orchard Heights Elementary in Port Orchard briefly left class June 15 to grab something special—a new free book to call their own just before summer vacation.

It’s part of the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student Organization’s mission to celebrate student education while encouraging them to strengthen their reading skills over the summer.

“There’s so much learning loss over the summer just by not being in school, by not using the tools that they’ve been gaining all of those months being in school,” PTSO president Nicki Harrell said. “The hope is that they can come down and find a book that they pick out and interests them.”

Harrell said getting that book just might be a start. “Maybe they pick up another book along the way. It’s just the overall hope to just encourage summer reading.”

There was no shortage of book options thanks to the big Scholastic Dollars balance via rewards earned by hosting Scholastic book fairs. Harrell said leftover books could be used by teachers. “This year I spent right around 5,000 of our scholastic dollars,” she said. “It’s no actual cash—no money out of our pocket essentially.”

Harrell said the kids get so happy receiving a free book. “They’ll hug their book, and they show their friends,” she laughed. “This is one of my favorite things about being involved with PTSO.”