Rachel Patterson to initiate Bag of Books'
By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
The banner in the lobby at Rachel Patterson Elementary School says "Read and Succeed."
That could be the name for a new reading initiative that Principal Beth Drew is launching, or it could be "A Book in the Hands of Every Child."
The real name for the initiative is Bag of Books.
Whatever the name, Drew and the RP staff are focused on a large project that requires a lot of community assistance.
Drew is asking individuals and businesses to help put books in her students' hands. Rachel Patterson has a total student population of 578. To accomplish her goal, Drew needs 2,079 books. The recommended book titles are taken from a list entitled "100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know." (See page 3.)
Vanity Fair is already on board. As a partner in education, VF donates $2,500 to the school each fall. In addition to that amount, VF donated $2,500 to Bag of Books and gave the school 700 cloth bags. When the school has enough books to implement the program – Drew is planning for the beginning of the next school year – each child in the classroom will get a bag containing three books each Friday.
These are not library books Drew is proposing, but books that will stay in each classroom. Students will continue their regular "book-a-week" library time.
Joining Drew in getting the project off the ground are teachers Lee Cannon , Melissa Nichols and Rene Wolfe. In a recent round-table discussion, they shared Drew's enthusiasm for the program and its potential.
Cannon sees the opportunity to impact more than children's reading levels.
Nichols said the students will fuel the enthusiasm once the project gets under way.
The staff is asking that the community get involved, but not just in a monetary way.