Ravenna library program urges kids to 'Stay and Read'

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Reed Memorial Library and the Ravenna School District are encouraging Ravenna elementary school students to "Stay and Read."

ST.A.R or "Stay And Read," is a new after school reading enrichment program that will be held once a week at Carlin, Tappan, West Main and Willyard Elementary Schools.

Students in grades 1 through 3 may meet weekly with the children's outreach librarian from Reed Memorial Library to participate in activities that are aimed at fostering a lasting love of reading.

Each week will offer snacks, story time, crafts, activities and access to literacy apps and eBooks on the library's tablet computers.

Reluctant readers are welcome and encouraged.

The program is provided at no cost to the families, but registration is required. Registration forms are available at all participating schools and their websites, and at Reed Memorial Library and its website, www.reedlibraryorg.

Amy Terry-Keister, the new children's outreach librarian at Reed Memorial Library, will provide instruction for the after school program, with the help of other library staff.

Terry-Keister, who spent six years as a classroom teacher and two years as a children's librarian, was drawn to the position because of her work experience and her desire to improve students' reading skills.

"First and foremost, I want students to have fun with reading and books. The more they have a chance to read, the better readers they will become," she said.

Library Director Cass Owens said the program would not be possible without the support of the community.

"We were able to add this new program because the community helped us with the levy," said Owens. "We want to make our dollars count to help Ravenna and Ravenna Township residents."

Owens said the library's mission and strategic plan emphasize learning and literacy and that having a presence in the elementary schools would maximize the library's impact on student literacy.

Funding for the snacks and tablet computers has been provided by The Friends of Reed Memorial Library.

Gina Kevern, Ravenna School District's director of curriculum and instruction, welcomes the collaboration.

"This is a great addition to the before and after school tutoring programs that are currently offered in the schools," Kevern said. "We hope the STAR program reinforces the literary practices the students are learning in the classrooms and encourages them to pursue reading as a leisure time activity outside of school hours."

Library representatives said response has been exceptional in the first week, and it's not too late to join.

At West Main, the students have been divided into two groups.

For this school year, that means West Main students will attend alternating Tuesdays, but the library is committed to providing extra sessions and extra staff beginning in the fall so that all children can attend weekly.

"I hope that we can make successful and happy readers out of more of our children," Owens said.

The program is offered at Tappan Mondays after school until 5 p.m.; on Wednesdays after school until 5 p.m. at Willyard and Thursdays after school until 5 p.m. at Carlin.

At West Main, the students are divided into two groups, attending on the first and third Tuesdays or second and fourth Tuesdays, after school until 5 p.m.

The program runs through the week of May 27.

Students may join at any time, but must turn in registration forms before attending. For information, call Terry-Keister at 330-296-2827, ext. 302 or email aterry-keister@oplin.org.

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