• Bellefonte Reads aims to spark a love of reading

    Bellefonte Area School District has a goal to connect the community to each other, and it’s done through a reading campaign. Bellefonte Reads, created about four years ago by now middle school Vice Principal Jackie Wynkoop, gives community members the opportunity to stop by the high school and receive a free book that correlates with a program theme.

    According to district literacy coach Brenda Rogers, the initiative provides a “solid foundation” for literacy.

    “Bellefonte Reads is an initiative to promote the love of reading,” she said. “The idea is that members in a community read the same book, thus having a commonality to the community and discussions. The group tries to pick different levels of books to encourage the love of reading at all ages.”

    A book distribution night will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the high school library, which allows community members to pick up a free copy of the selected books. A snow makeup date is scheduled Feb. 22. A literacy night will also be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 15 at the high school, which includes a free pizza dinner, literacy activities and games for kids, a book fair, a basket raffle and more. A snow makeup date is scheduled for March 22.

    The theme for 2017-18 Bellefonte Reads is “overcoming challenges,” and books selected fit this theme.

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    “The committee noticed this common message and felt this is something that all students and families can relate to,” Rogers said. “While the challenges people face differ -- we all have something in our lives -- nobody has a perfect life, no matter what it might look like from the outside. The main characters in all of the books take on the challenge and use it to make a difference.”

    Books chosen this year are, “The Hate U Give” for high schoolers and adults; “The One and Only Ivan” for intermediate readers; and “Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla” for preschool and early elementary school students.

    In total, more than 430 books have been purchased with help through donations from the community.

    For more information, visit the Bellefonte Reads website: Bellefonte Reads, or follow its Facebook page and Twitter account, @BellefonteReads.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD