A Summer Gift

Through the Education Foundation, each first grader goes home with a book
Posted on 07/25/2019
Each Trumbauersville Elementary School students is excited to receive a book.By Gary Weckselblatt

Each Quakertown Community School District first grader is going home for the summer with a new book. The gift is compliments of the Quakertown Community Education Foundation.

“First grade is such a crucial year for students in the development of their reading skills,” said Erin Oleksa-Carter, the district’s supervisor of literacy and arts. “We believe this will help them continue to grow as readers, and develop their love of reading.”

Approximately 365 books were given out, and the one each child received was determined by their teacher, based on the interest they’ve shown in a certain topic and their reading ability.

“Teachers have taken an active role in the program, Oleksa-Carter said, developing reading celebration days. “They made sure the kids got the right books in their hands for the summer.”

The total cost for the books is close to $3,000. Three primary donors -- Levy School Bus Company, Quakertown Rotary Club and Sue Deily, Realtor -- each held fundraisers specifically for this program.

QCEF vice president Christopher Betz, publisher of the Upper Bucks Free Press, Warren Levy Jr., owner of the Levy School Bus Company, and former Magisterial District Justice Bob Roth each visited classrooms as books were handed out.

“It’s a beautiful sight,” Mr. Levy said. “The children couldn’t be more excited. It was great to interact with these first graders. This is a great time to give these books to the kids to encourage reading now and through the summer."

Mr. Betz, who visited Trumbauersville’s three first-grade classes Wednesday with Mr. Levy, said “It was my pleasure to represent QCEF and the donors that support us while personally distributing these books to the first graders. The kids were thankful and excited to get these gifts, which was great to see. Some even started reading their books right away."

The concept began a year ago, and was proposed by QCEF’s Robert Leight, a former school director, who described first grade as the “entry into literacy.” QCEF President Bill Tuszynski said the idea began with “providing books to students who couldn’t afford them. But it’s difficult to identify those students, and there could be a stigma attached to it. So the board decided to do it for all of them.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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