Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Gift of Reading

Dozens of children who live at the Waterford Place Apartments unwrapped books Dec. 10 during a holiday-related party sponsored by The Kids’ Reading Room, the nonprofit group started by Spring Branch ISD educator Trish Schappell.

This week, the nonprofit Kids’ Reading Room will help sponsor four other reading room holiday parties at apartment complexes that serve young children and many SBISD students.

At Waterford Place Apartment last Thursday, a dedicated group of Northbrook High’s National Honor Society students led young partygoers in fun, planned activities. They made reindeer and polar bear ornaments. They frosted cookies with sweet chocolate, and students sat in floor circle groups to hear adults and teens read holiday stories like “The Night Before Christmas.”

At party’s end, the teens joined Schappell, an interdisciplinary instructional coach at Rummel Creek Elementary, to hand out wrapped books.

Sets of up to four books were given to readers this year after Scholastic Inc. gave about 15,000 books to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. The foundation then gave roughly 500 books to The Kids Reading Room group.

“I think that it’s so important that these kids came here this fall and read books,” said National Honor Society officer Danielle Garcia. “They may have tablets or video games at home, but it’s so important that they spend time with reading and with books.”

“I think that younger kids like it when older kids read to them, and talk to them one-on-one. It tells them in a personal way that it’s important to read,” she also said.

Adds National Honor Society member and junior Lizbeth Galicia, “I enjoy reading to the little kids. It’s really fun, and they enjoy it.”

At the end, Schappell shed some tears of joy over the holiday party and gift books, as well as the teens from Northbrook High. The National Honor Society students have supported a half dozen volunteers at Waterford Place twice a week since early in September.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, the nonprofit took about 75 gift-wrapped books to Hollibrook Elementary’s area community center, which reaches out to students through a Spring Spirit Baseball mentoring partnership.

Other children’s reading rooms and apartment libraries supported by The Kids Reading Room: Castlewood Apartments, 7100 Westview Drive; Gentry House Apartments, 9001 Kempwood Drive; and Hammerly Walk Apartments, 8787 Hammerly Blvd.

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