QCEF gifts free book to each first grader

Students chose the books from a list supplied by the Quakertown Community Education Foundation, which spent $2,000 on the materials to help “foster the love of reading.”
Posted on 05/09/2023
Pfaff first-graders show off their new books.By Gary Weckselblatt

It’s become a rite of passage for Quakertown Community School District first graders. Before they leave for the summer, each student is given a book of their choice, compliments of the Quakertown Community Education Foundation.

“First grade is such a crucial year for students in the development of their reading skills,” said Dr. Erin Oleksa-Carter, Supervisor of Middle Level Programs and a QCEF board member. “We believe this will help them continue to grow as readers, and develop their love of reading.”

QCEF President Stephanie Zajkowski said “It’s a way for the foundation to do something that touches and impacts every first grader. We believe it will foster the love of reading at the end of the school year and heading into summer.”

Nearly 350 books, at a cost of approximately $2,000, will be handed out. Neidig and Pfaff students have already been given their prizes. QE, Richland and Trumbauersville students will receive theirs this month. Students were given the opportunity to choose among several titles, including Fly High, Fly Guy!; Can I Play Too; Frog and Toad Are Friends; Baby Animals; Planets, Jump Pup, Coral Reefs; Swing, Sloth! Explore the Rainforest.

The concept began about six years ago, and was proposed by Robert Leight, a former school director and QCEF member, who described first grade as the “entry into literacy.”

“This program is wonderful,” said Sarah Kelly of Pfaff. “My students are so excited to read their new books and to share them with their friends. The program helps to develop a love of reading that I hope will continue throughout their time at Pfaff, in QCSD, and throughout their lives. Our book and blanket day was made extra special with the delivery of these books. Our classroom was filled with excitement and joy about books. One student exclaimed, ‘I just want to read this book all day long.’ We can't thank QCEF enough for this precious gift.”

Amanda Kennedy of Pfaff added, “It’s something the kids look forward to. They’re going home with a new book of their choice, and to be excited about reading.”

Katie Skonier of Neidig said “They’re so excited to be gifted a book by QCEF. We are so thankful for their generosity. They’re all eagerly reading their books.”

Added Neidig’s Cari Niles, “It’s a really good idea. A lot of these kids really do love reading. And look how excited they are.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].
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