Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Dallas ISD’s Henry B. Gonzalez Elementary School each had the chance to pick a book to take home among about 1,000 donated books on Wednesday, June 1.
Having their own books can help prevent the “summer slide,” when students don’t read much when school is out, said Gonzalez librarian Erica Kennard. Choosing their own books can make reading more fun rather than an assignment, she said.
“It’s going on a summer vacation without having to buy a ticket anywhere.”
The books were donated by Virgie Hunter, who saw a need after seeing posts by Kennard about the school library on Facebook. For Hunter, it was an opportunity to share her lifelong love of books with students. She secured the books through Half Price Books.
Hunter said that as a young girl in Dallas, she’d ride the bus from her neighborhood to the Central Library downtown on Saturdays. She and a friend would enjoy Story Hour, during which books were read aloud to children. Then she’d pick out whatever and how many books she wanted. That love of reading was fostered by her parents, who were both teachers.
Ever since, she has given away books, when she was a second-grade teacher and also through her work with the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She now works with that sorority’s Stork’s Nest project, which with the March of Dimes aims to boost prenatal medical care for expectant mothers.
“When you get a book, it’s a treasure,” Hunter said. “You become a lover of books.”
On Wednesday, some of the students wanted to get extra books for younger siblings. “It becomes a part of the children when they want to get a book for someone else in their family,” Hunter said.