Tiger Tales set up in hopes of encouraging summer literacy

April Coble
Staff Writer

It's a tale many teachers are familiar with: students might read for their assignments during the school year, at school. When they're at home, all too often, reading ceases. During the summer, no time is spent with books at all.

This year, teachers and administrators hope to get a program rolling to send books home with students ahead of summer vacation to encourage them to read. However, that program is going to need donations to start a fund and get books into little hands and encourage literacy starting with Guymon's youngest.

"A conference I went to talked about how you can almost… you can have the same success over the summer as you do with summer school if you provide reading materials for kids," Principal Melissa Watson said. "Statistics show you have to live within six blocks of a public library to visit it. Most of our kids who need the books don't live within six blocks of a public library."

Administrators have been working together to develop a program to purchase books to be sent home with children in the first and second grades.

"There is no expectation for them to return. It's just literature for them to have in their household that they can read over the summer," Watson continued. "The further benefit of that is if they happen to be an older sibling, the younger ones under them are also getting that benefit of having literature in the household, because there's not a lot of that currently."

Superintendent Doug Melton noted the district will be taking donations toward the newly established Tiger Tales fund, created for the purpose of raising money for books. It was suggested monetary donations are best utilized for this program, as the district has the ability to work out special book club deals that will allow the purchase of books for 250 students, and gives the district an opportunity to earn book club points that can be used for further book purchases.

"Our main thing is we want to try to get $15,000 this first year, which is a big, big number," Melton said. "We figured out we could buy them 10 or 12 books a piece."

The plan is to give every first and second grade student a bag on the last day of school containing books to read over the summer.

"We can't use school money, because they're keeping them," Melton said. "They all get the same books when they go."

Work is being done to decide whether discounts on purchases through Scholastic or points programs through other book clubs will be the more inexpensive route to take in order to supply students with books for summer reading at home. The district is looking for individuals, corporations and organizations interested in helping with the new program.

"Once we get into it, there are grants offered through different businesses here in town that are chains, that offer all types of reading grants we can apply for. Once we get going," Watson said.

Those interested in more information on how to help Tiger Tales become a successful program for Guymon's children can contact the administration offices by visiting 801 N. Beaver in Guymon, or call (580)338-4340.


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