By Cody Neff
If you have a book that’s ever made a big impact on you, maybe you should consider passing those feelings on by donating your old books to the fifth annual NIE Used Book Sale.
The sale raises money to support The Register-Herald Newspapers in Education program that uses newspapers to teach kids across southern West Virginia.
Book sale volunteers say the program exposes children to a different type of reading and can make them fall in love with it.
“A love of reading turns into a love of learning and gets you further in life,” Linda Freeman said. “If you can’t get out there and read and know about basic things like reading, then how far are you going to get in life? Reading is a journey of a lifetime. If I didn’t read every day, I think I’d die.”
Some of the volunteers say books are especially important during a time when, according to the National Assessment of Educational Process, seven out of 10 kids in West Virginia can’t read well.
“I think the declining reading level is a side-effect of the technology level rising,” Freeman said. “Kids would rather play a video game than read a book. When I was growing up, I had a teacher that would read to us a chapter of a book each week and it was just suspenseful. You couldn’t wait until the next chapter. Children have to latch onto that one book that means the most to them.
“People who don’t like to read either have not found the right book or have not been inspired by the right person. Kids don’t have books at home and their parents aren’t reading. If things keep going the direction they are now, then it won’t be long and there will be a generation that doesn’t even know what a book is.”
A few of the volunteers are retired teachers and they say they know how helpful a newspaper in the classroom can be.
“There used to be a whole set of cards that had ideas about how you could use newspapers in the classroom,” Peggy Jones said. “You don’t just have to stare at it. We did activities with the grocery ads. We took the sports scores. Kids would take one page and circle all of the nouns and on another page they would circle all the verbs. Kids would have to figure out what certain headlines meant. You can still do all kinds of activities with a newspaper.”
Jones says it’s important for children to build the basics now so they have something to work from in the future.
“I always told my children ... grades one through three, build your foundation,” Jones said. “From fourth grade on up, that’s building your house. In grades one through three you’re learning to read and from then on you’re reading to learn. At the end of the third grade, if a child can’t read, then it’s just about playing catch-up from then on. I don’t know how kids do it.”
The volunteers say the Used Book Sale will have something for everyone, even if they don’t consider themselves a reader.
“We had a lady who came to the book sale last year who wasn’t looking for something to read,” Jones said. “She wanted some ‘coffee table books,’ nice, pretty books to just lay around on the table for when guests come. I had never heard about that until then. A couple of weeks ago I heard another woman say, ‘This book is so pretty. It would make a good coffee table book.’”
“That just shows that there’s something for everyone at this book sale,” Freeman added with a laugh. “We’ve had someone from a furniture store who came in and bought some books so the bookshelves would look more ‘homey’ for when people came to look.”
Carla Nelson, The Register-Herald’s circulation sales and marketing manager, says the book sale is looking for all kinds of books.
Volunteers sort the donated books into categories that include children’s, religious, juvenile, thrillers, suspense, mystery, reference, romance, cookbooks, westerns, sports, how-to books and science fiction.
“It’s a chance to de-clutter your shelves and, at the same time, know you are providing reading material that will help students be more civic-minded and teach them the importance of reading in daily life,” Nelson said.
Donations can be taken at The Fayette Tribune office in Oak Hill, The Montgomery Herald office in Montgomery, The Register-Herald, Wyoming County Report, Kroger in Beaver, IGA in Lewisburg, Marquee Cinemas in Beckley, Kroger in Rainelle, Kroger in Beckley Crossing, Wayne’s Supermarket in Mullens, Goodson’s Supermarket in Oceana, Kroger in Oak Hill, Cornerstone IGA in Daniels and Grant’s in Oak Hill.
The Used Book Sale will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, 25, 26, 31, and Nov. 1 and 2 at Hyundai of Beckley.
For more information, call Nelson at 304-255-4498. Nelson says that while all donations are appreciated, she prefers that no one brings any textbooks or encyclopedias.
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