Gateway: Living

Animals + books equals a deep interest in reading for Evergreen students

Key Peninsula Veterans member Roxie O’Donnell and Evergreen kindergartener Becky Hale-Burich enjoy a moment reading Becky’s newly acquired book during Evergreen Elementary’s Reading Is FUNdamental program last month.
Key Peninsula Veterans member Roxie O’Donnell and Evergreen kindergartener Becky Hale-Burich enjoy a moment reading Becky’s newly acquired book during Evergreen Elementary’s Reading Is FUNdamental program last month. Special to the Gateway

It is always a delight for me to share the excitement of the Evergreen Elementary School’s Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) program. Last month’s was no exception.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin and others wouldn’t have been noticed were they to have been there. The kids from all five grade levels were totally absorbed with selecting a free book from tables clustered with them.

“RIF is a great way to help kids understand the importance of reading and a way for staff members and community to share their love of reading,” explained Evergreen Principal Hugh Maxwell.

Added at this session were a collection of live animals for the kids to see up close: an iguana, a python snake, a hedgehog and others which heightened the kids’ interest in the learning process

“The animals and books were really good,” said fifth-grader Quinton Overman.

Classmate Tyler Amundson agreed: “There were good books and the animals were fun.”

Said third-grader Emma Kreis, “I got a book, ‘A to Z Mysteries,’ that is really good. I liked the animals, too.”

“My students’ eyes light as they walk into the magical world that has been created for them,” enthused third grade teacher Therese Souers. “They rush to select their very own book and enjoy reading it to the volunteers who take part in out RIF program.”

“I think RIF is really cool with real live animals. I got a book that is really good and I’m still reading it,” said fourth-grader Samantha Chisa a few days later.

Summing things up, Evergreen librarian Robin Roe said, “RIF gets kids excited about reading because they get to own their own books. Many of our students don’t have access to books at home so this program helps to fill a void in their lives.”

And many thanks are due to the KP Veterans organization, which has provided funds to make this wonderful program such a success over many years. Want to help? Call KP Vets’ President Frank Grubaugh at 253-509-8656.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hmcmnp1000@centurytel.net.

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