Adopt-a-Reader program at Bookworm provides books to kids in need
In this giving season, give the gift of a story.
Throughout the year, The Bookworm of Edwards partners with the Literacy Project, as well as several hotels and businesses in the valley, to present Adopt-a-Reader. Adopt-a-Reader provides one book each month to young readers in the community that may not have any at home. A Bookworm customer donates on a monthly basis, purchasing a book for a child enrolled in the program. Project Manager Mackenzie Koffenberger reads through each enrolled student’s profile (of which, there are nearly 100) and chooses a book tailored to a student’s specific reading and literary needs and interests.
“The program identifies kids that need to keep reading, “ Koffenberger said. “It finds kids that need to keep being challenged and keep growing.”
The program focuses solely on children in the Vail Valley, stretching from Vail to Dotsero, and for good reason.
“Studies have shown that putting books in kids’ hands makes a difference,” said Nicole Magistro, owner of the store. “And we know that everyone that walks in our door isn’t necessarily representative of the entire community.”
Magda King, general manager of Antlers Hotel in Vail is a huge supporter of the program on behalf of her staff.
“We support literacy big time,” King said. “And there’s a huge love of reading in our staff.”
All the children (or grandchildren) of the housekeeping staff at the hotel are enrolled in the program, and receive their monthly book, which they then read with their parent or grandparent. The adult then returns to work for a monthly group discussion about how the reading went. They’ll discuss what was easy, what was hard and they’ll even share the stories amongst themselves, which King noted, usually gets a rise out of the group.
King also focuses on literacy among her staff, offering weekly English classes and the opportunity to earn a GED through Colorado Mountain College.
“We really focus on comprehensive reading because it exercises all of our brains” King said. “We’ve seen great results.”
The program also provides the opportunity to connect with the community on a deeper level.
While a donor never meets the specific child that they are paired with, they’ve noted that it’s a rewarding experience.
“One customer without kids of her own came in and said she wanted to do the program to connect with the kids,” Magistro said.
So, like all donors (who pay under $20 each month), the customer buys a monthly book for a valley student that needs it.
“We want to put as many new books in homes for kids without books,” Magistro said. “We really want to help them build home libraries.”
Aside from being hand selected, each of the books are brand new, and Koffenberger takes the full month to select individual books for each child based on reading level, interests, age and language. Koffenberger even takes into account whether a student has a sibling enrolled in the program to avoid giving the same household more than one copy of a book. While more than one student may receive the same book in a month, it’s never given without thought of the student’s needs.
The program also extends to teenage and expecting mothers looking to build their home library for the sake of their child.
Each month, the donors receive an email with information on the specific book they donated, and they often come in and pick up the book themselves.
Whether you’re looking to donate yourself or in someone else’s name, you can sign up to adopt a reader (or a family of readers) online at http://www.bookwormof edwards.com/adopt-reader.