Turning the page
Published 6:51 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Reading Council spreads the word
By Allison T. Williams
Dr. Seuss is moving into the ForKids’ Suffolk House.
Hundreds of gently-used children’s books — including many titles by beloved children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel — are being donated to ForKids’ Suffolk House and the Genieve Shelter, two sites that provide temporary shelter to mothers and children in Western Tidewater.
The Suffolk Reading Council collected more than 1,000 used books from Suffolk Public School students during its February book drive, said president-elect Rachele Hirsch-Brooks, a second-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School. The organization, mostly made up of teachers, promotes family literacy in Suffolk.
The shelters will make the books available to children in need, Hirsch-Brooks said.
“Reading provides an escape, and … is such as important part of a child’s life,” Hirsch-Brooks said. “The idea is to give children the opportunity to pick out their own book to keep. It’s important for them to have ownership, something that belongs only to them.”
The book drive is meant to kick off a rejuvenation of the Suffolk Reading Council, Hirsch-Brooks said. She wants the organization, founded in 1979, to become more active in the community.
Currently, the organization has about 30 members, mostly Suffolk Public School teachers. Hirsch-Brooks hopes to grow the membership, bringing in more representatives from private schools, the homeschooling community and outside the education profession.
“You don’t have to be a teacher to do this,” she said.
The Suffolk Reading Council is sponsoring a young author’s competition in Suffolk Public Schools, where students write and submit their own books in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and autobiography. Citywide winners will be announced in late April.
In June, the Norfolk Tides will team up with reading councils from Suffolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach to sponsor a book drive as part of the team’s first “Hit a Homerun for Literacy Night.” And during the next year, Hirsch-Brooks expects the Suffolk Reading Council to become more active in other community service projects.
“This book drive is one way of getting our name out there and to show we are trying to make an impact in Suffolk,” said. “I think we are on the right track to becoming what we need to be.”
Anyone interested in more information on the Suffolk Reading Council can call Hirsch-Brooks, 757-620-7255.