Author presentation pivots to town-wide reading program

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Book packs were sent to Community School students as part of a program to celebrate Read Across America Month. Courtesy photo

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Early last year, the Community School PTO was all set to invite an author to read to students—then COVID-19 happened.

This left the group with a grant from the North Attleborough Cultural Council for a reading program, but now in need of a new purpose. Determined to proceed forward, they opted to spend the grant money to purchase new books for each student, classroom teacher or specialist, in recognition of March being Read Across America Month.

We tried to get creative on how we could still spend the funds in a way that would benefit students,” wrote PTO Co-President Tara Ward in an e-mail.

Students were also given book packs to take home. These included a flier for the Sora program—an app through which students have access to free e-books—an activity book from the fire department, a badge sticker from the police department, bookmarks from Richards Memorial Library, a bookmark kit prepared by high school students, a ‘make your own story book,’ and a reading BINGO game.

With students learning remotely via Google Chromebooks, the decision was made to expand on the idea with a series of reading videos. Staff of the school and residents were asked to record videos of themselves reading a childrens book of their choice. Families from Community School will receive an email daily with links to a few of the videos. The links are also shared on the Community School PTO Facebook page.

We got an overwhelming response and also reached out to local authors,” wrote Ward. “These local authors were more than happy to read the books they had written and also donated an autographed copy of their book to be raffled off to students.”

Among the readers were Assistant Superintendent Michelle McKeon, North TV Executive Director Peter Gay, members of the police and fire departments, and North Attleborough High School seniors. Local authors Lynn Turcotte-Schuh, Melissa Medeiros, Matt Rufo, Christina Roderick, and Brian Ford read their books as part of the video series. An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville donated two autographed copies of Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books.

We are not sure what the future looks like, but would love to repeat this event yearly if possible,” said Ward.