PIKETON – Students at Jasper Elementary are now enjoying more time to browse the shelves of an expanded mobile library. With rolling carts, the books can be conveniently delivered to classrooms, or students can visit the “book depot” to select their favorite story or author. In early February, Fluor-BWXT donated $1,000 to purchase a cart and several books for elementary students through the company’s Community Commitment Fund for education initiatives.
Teacher Jennifer Buckler set up the depot just outside her information technology classroom. She wanted the students to have more choices and the convenience of being able to stop by to select a book when they wanted, without having to wait for their class to have library.
“With this, they can come any time. It’s set up on an honor system. The kids check out and return the books when they want and can take the books home to read if they want, which can really be a life-changer,” Buckler said.
“I try to get an idea of what they like to read so I can order the books that interest them. Some of their favorites are Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones and Fly Guy. The Fly Guy books vary by level. For example, the higher levels are non-fiction books that share facts about science and different animals.”
One of Buckler’s concepts turns out to be within the top 10 recommendations for encouraging children to read: letting them choose the books.
When asking some of the third graders how they selected their books, they said they chose them by the character and by the reading level. All of the books in the mobile library are “Scholastic Reader” books. Two of the books they said they liked were the Junie B. Jones books and the books depicting adventures of the various “Lego” characters.
Although Buckler’s main job is to teach children how to use computers and different software programs such as Word and PowerPoint, she also employs unique opportunities to teach mathematical concepts. Last fall, she taught third graders how to apply fractions to real life by making a block-style quilt. Buckler plans to donate the quilt to raise money for charity.
Jasper Elementary has 419 children in grades K through 3. According to the 2003 Census, Pike County tied with Meigs County with 9 percent of their residents lacking basic literacy skills. In Ohio, this is second only to Adams County, in which an estimated 13 percent of residents lacked basic literacy skills.
Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth invests a percentage of its fee in the four-county region. Through the Community Commitment Fund, a steering committee will annually develop targets for economic development, charitable giving, and education initiatives to provide the greatest impact to the region.