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Books to keep

A thoughtful teacher and generous donor add to summer reading lists

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
A group of Butler Elementary School students pick out two new books Wednesday morning during a book giveaway organized by Butler teacher Stephanie Harvey.

Half of the gym at Butler Elementary School got to serve yet another purpose Wednesday.

Thanks to the work of reading teacher Stephanie Harvey, it became a book store.

Sort of.

The students browsing the tables of new books didn’t have to pay for them.

Harvey organized the event to help ensure that, over the course of the summer, the students have something to read to keep their skills fresh.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Butler Elementary School third-graders Joely Gilbert, 9, at left, and her friend Hailey Hanse, 9, look over their selection of books Wednesday morning during a book giveaway organized by Butler teacher Stephanie Harvey. Each student in the school received two new books to take home to read over the summer.

“We often see what’s called a summer slide in reading skills,” she said. “We want to have a summer leap. We are giving them two to three books over the summer they can read. It helps them not slide.”

Funding the project came from a semi-anonymous donor in Texas named Bennett.

“He sent me the money,” she said. “It was enough to purchase enough for each student to take two.”

The books are all brand new. Students could select from a variety of subjects, titles and formats. It was their choice what they selected.

There was also several tables covered with books that had already been read a few times. The students could have as many of those as they wanted.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Butler Elementary School teacher Stephanie Harvey helps a group of third-grade students get their new books checked out and bagged Wednesday morning during a book giveaway she organized.

“It’s our well-loved collection,” Harvey said.

She has a lifelong love of reading and learning and encourages the students to read as much as they can.

“I talk a lot with kids about how you can make a movie in your mind,” she said. “The more I read the more I realize it’s up to me to instill a love for reading.”

Each student also got a bookmark with the BHH concepts. That stands for Book, Head and Heart and it asks the students questions designed to get them to think about what they read.

Joely Gilbert, 9, had selected several new books and was browsing the used ones. She won’t be wasting any time before cracking them open.

“I like to read,” she said. “I love to read, read, read and read.”

Her friend, Hailey Hanse, 9, was also selecting a few used books to go with her new ones.

“I like chapter books,” she said. “Sometimes I get to buy books for my brother. He’s 10 years old.”

Gilbert has a sibling in mind too.

“I might get some easy reads for my little sister,” she said. “She is 6 years old.”

Ronan Gifford, 10, was going to find out if the book is better than the movie.

“These are two movies I’ve seen but I have not read,” he said, showing off a copy of “High School Musical” and “Camp Rock.”

Since he gets to use his imagination, the book may just be better.