Free books for first-graders

sgilman@newsobserver.comMarch 10, 2014 

Shay Vail of the Women’s Club of Clayton packs a bag of books for a first-grader at Cooper Elementary School.

SAMANTHA GILMAN — sgilman@newsobserver.com

At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, the Clayton Women’s Club will hand out about 120 bright-yellow bags of books to first-graders at Cooper Elementary School.

“It gives them at least five books to start their library, and if they have something sitting by their bed, they are more likely to read,” club member Shay Vail said. Some of the students who will receive the bags have never owned a book, she said.

Each yellow bag contains five books, a stuffed animal “reading buddy” and a reading log. The purpose, Vail said, is “trying to encourage reading, reading at home.”

As part of the club’s education outreach, Vail and several other club members began collecting books in August in order to make this week’s special delivery. Some of the books are new; others came from the library and from yard sales.

They wanted to deliver the books sooner, Vail said, but weather prevented them.

“We wanted to do this in January,” she said. “We set two dates and got snowed out both times.”

The book drop is just one of the club’s education projects. In the summer, club members help out with the reading program at Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library. They also provide a scholarship for a high school senior and a college junior. The club’s main fundraiser, held in November, is “Taste,” in which local restaurants and caterers donate food samples. The event draws about 400 people.

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