BookStop visit to West Jefferson Hills helps encourage reading
Children are just beginning to enjoy their summer break, but teachers in the West Jefferson Hills School District hope the students don’t take a break from reading.
In an effort to encourage reading, West Jefferson Hills is one of five local districts participating in The BookStop program.
The book mobile program featured books appropriate for children up to 12 years old. The West Jefferson Hills book mobile made four stops throughout the community on Friday.
Gill Hall Elementary principal Tina Mayer and McClellan Elementary principal Justin Liberatore helped children select a book to read.
All children were able to pick out a free, new or gently-used book to take home. Families also could donate a book to help keep The BookStop well stocked for future years.
Meghan Dehaven, who will be a sixth-grader in the fall, said she wants to read 25 books this summer. She visited the book stop at Heritage Hills community pool to pick up several books to help her achieve her goal.
“I like a variety of books,” said Meghan, who plans to read “The Running Dream” by Wendelin Van Draanen to kick off her summer reading.
Diane Handshue brought her three children — Sidney, R.J. and Cadence — to the book stop.
“They love books. They found several books,” said Handshue, who was surprised at the number of books available.
“There is a lot of variety,” she said.
Partnering with the school district are the Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills libraries.
“It’s important to have the cooperation between the school district and libraries,” said Sharon Julian-Milas, Pleasant Hills library director. “Libraries are definitely the place to be in the summer to stop the summer slide.”
Ann Zettl, youth services librarian at Jefferson Hills Library, said it’s nice to have the parents and children meet the principals in a casual setting.
“It’s really to get out in the community and promote early literacy,” Zettl said.
Developed as a pilot program by the Allegheny County Early Literacy Team, the program is designed to build relationships between families, school districts and public libraries to promote reading. The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is funding the pilot program.