Small school gives big in book drive

Published 4:04 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

Reading can be an invaluable skill for any child to learn, and an even better one to promote through community-mindedness.

Langham Elementary was awarded a $1,000 check by H-E-B to put toward their literacy program. Langham was one of five schools in five regions of Texas recognized by H-E-B to win the H-E-B Read 3 School Book Drive Challenge.

In addition to the check, Langham also received a banner proclaiming them: “H-E-B Read 3 Book Drive Regional Winner.”

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“Our school of 454 students collected 5,950 books — an average of 13 books per student,” Lori Bell, president of Langham PTA, said in a press release.

“We have wonderful students, teachers and parents. All of our students have a service heart. We all give and have role models who give every year,” Rosetta Morgan, principal of Langham, said.

She gave special thanks to the PTA for helping make the book drive a reality for the school.

“I’m so excited that out of all the Houston schools, Langham collected the most books,” Morgan said. “It was amazing how quickly it came together.”

Morgan expressed the importance different types of literature could have in a child’s academic and personal life, saying,

“At elementary, literature in different genres is important for children to become lifelong learners.”

Morgan said that Langham was one of three schools in the area that qualified in the top 25 percent of Texas Title Reward Schools.

“So, that tells me that we’re doing an outstanding job,” Morgan said. “And our children have a service heart.”

Morgan said that the donated money would go towards purchasing sets of novels for each grade level in the school.

“We’ll create a balanced literature with all kinds of different genres,” Morgan said.

She emphasized the importance of different literatures in a student’s curriculum, including science, math and English.

Morgan expressed the belief that becoming literate in such subjects would enable a student to become a lifelong learner with a service heart.

Marissa Woodall’s third grade class was the class that brought in the most books for the school. As such, they were recognized at the pep rally celebrating Langham’s win and were presented with a classroom set of H-E-B school supplies.

“I’m so proud of what the school and the class were able to bring together,” Woodall said.

“I had a lot of students who donated at least 30 books,” Woodall said. “Three fourths of the class brought at least 30 books and one student brought in 600 books.”

Woodall highlighted her students’ community-mindedness regarding the drive.

“They talked about the significance of the (drive) because of the need of other children,” Woodall said. “They didn’t discuss the significance of it because of the prize.”

When discussing literacy and the importance of acquiring it, Woodall said,

“Well, it’s the foundation for everything. In my opinion, you can’t do any of the other subjects without it.”

On hand to present the check were H-E-B officials such as Store Director for the Mid-County store Josh Jones.

“Read 3 is something that H-E-B has done for several years now. It’s a program that creates literacy awareness in the community,” Jones said.

“Our goal is to donate one million books each year.”

Jones emphasized that the books collected during the drive stay in the community in which they were given.

“Our owner realized he had seen students not kinder-ready. They were not reading by the 1st grade,” Doreen Borel, community coordinator for H-E-B, said.

Borel said that in order to help correct this, H-E-B became involved in community outreach and literacy initiatives.

“We do things like combo locos where we give (children’s) books to customers with the purchase of certain items… Sometimes we sell these books for $1. Mainly, it’s there to get books into children’s hands.”

Borel emphasized the importance of community-minded literacy programs.

“Our owner said, ‘Let’s start collecting books and giving them to the community.’”

Borel said that local things like the lending library in the Mid-County store were part of the initiative to get books into children’s hands.

“During the summer, I go to apartment complexes and give books away,” Borel said.

“For example, two weeks ago, we were involved with a Walk for Life. Since there were children there walking their pets, I chose books that had to do with dogs and gave them to them.”

In discussing other local winning schools in the past, Borel expressed confidence in smaller schools’ ability to compete with larger areas or cities.

“Little schools, if passionate about it, can win,” Borel said.