Like sprinkles on an ice cream cone, Links to Libraries brings smiles to many children throughout Western MA with their book donations. According to their website the organization has “donated almost 500,000 new books and 5,000 gently used books to local children and school libraries.”
Mrs. Nikki Reed, Chapin Street Principal, explained, "For several years Links to Libraries has donated several books to the school. Dave’s Soda and Pet City is Chapin's sponsor and pays for the books. We are very grateful for Dave Ratner’s generosity to our school community.”
In addition to book donations, Links to Libraries also sponsors a Read Aloud Program where volunteers visit classrooms to share the world of books with students. Volunteers not only read to the students, but also gives each student a new book of their own to take home.
Reed was thrilled to learn the Read Aloud Program would be initiated this year at Chapin Street School. Following a random selection to determine the two 3rd grade classrooms that would participate in this program, students in rooms 22 and 23 warmly welcomed the volunteer readers for their initial visit on October 21st and 26th.
Reed explained that she received an email from Mrs. Patricia Pio, Links to Libraries Project Director, informing her that this year Mrs. Rachel Chmura and Mr. Ted Chmura would be the Read Aloud volunteers for Chapin Street School.
During their first visit, both volunteers spent time introducing themselves, and informing the students a little about the Links to Libraries Program. Mrs. Chmura then read the book, Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From the Campaign Trail, by Mark Teague while Mr. Chmura read, Willie Wins by Almira Astudillo Gilles. Both volunteers received rave reviews; receiving unanimous thumbs up!
Student smiles were abundant when they were given the opportunity to choose a book of their own, to take home, and add to their personal library. Upon choosing their book many students immediately returned to their seats to start reading their book. When seeing this, Mrs. Sally Kelly-Condino, 3rd grade teacher, commented, “It’s great to see how excited and motivated they (students) are to read their books.”
When learning that both readers would be returning monthly, students were thrilled. Mr. Chmura explained that “volunteers return to the same classroom 1x a month, throughout the school year. Visiting the same classroom each month reinforces our commitment to the importance of fostering a love of reading, which we hope will transfer to students.”
Asked why he volunteers for the Read Aloud Program, Chmura shared, “We have two daughter, and when they were younger we read to them every single night. So reading really is near and dear to my heart. I love reading to kids. I love to see when they engage, when their eyes light up and they are connecting with the words being read. There is nothing better than being able to share my love of reading with these amazing kids.”