By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — District classrooms have received $20,000 worth of new, hardcover books for participating in a national reading project.
The Children’s Choice Project is designed to allow students in kindergarten through sixth grade to get their hands on newly published books and rate how much they enjoyed them.
Curriculum director Dawn Brookhart did not have an exact count of books given to the district, but estimated there were about 700 new titles among them.
“They’re newly published books by nationally known authors,” she said. Among the authors is Eric Carle, author of books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Danville was asked to participate by Bloomsburg University, which is serving as regional coordinator for the project.
“They just asked if we wanted to participate and we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to encourage our kids to read and be part of a national reading project,” Brookhart said.
Danville is the only district in the Susquehanna Valley to participate, she said, adding that one of the next closest districts in the program is Hazleton.
The program began at the beginning of September, with the books delivered to Danville Primary School classrooms, the Liberty Valley Intermediate School library and Danville Middle School language arts classrooms.
After reading a book, students can fill out a form to rate how much they liked it. Students can choose three options: “I really liked it,” “It was okay” and “I didn’t like it.” Older students are allowed to add additional comments.
Books that receive enough positive votes are added to the Children’s Book Council’s “Children’s Choices for 2014” list, the only such list that children can vote on, Brookhart said.
School principals praised the program during Danville school board’s meeting Sept. 24. Danville Primary School Principal John Bickhart called it “a phenomenal way to add to our classrooms and libraries.”
Danville Middle School principal Charles Smargiassi said he had a second-grader at home who brought home a book from the program and couldn’t wait to read it and vote on it.