Ring Lardner Middle School gives away free books for March Reading Month

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, March 19, 2019

NILES — This March Reading Month, Ring Lardner Middle School is tackling several initiatives to get youth excited about books.

On Friday, children got the chance to visit librarian Amy Gourlay and pick one free book of their choosing from a Reading Store. There were more than 15 options of books for students to choose. Volunteers helped to run the Reading Store throughout the day.

Gourlay created the Reading Store after she collected many books from Feed the Children in Elkhart. The organization is also referred to as the Free Teacher Store and lets teachers pick up free materials for their classroom.

“I filled my car of free books,” Gourlay said. “I have amassed a collection and we decided we wanted to have a store, where every kid can get their own book of their choosing.”

Gourlay said students reactions to the Reading Store were “grateful” and “happy.”

In addition to free books, students also dressed in jerseys Friday to “team up for reading.”

“Each day, I have a suggestion with how to incorporate reading into their day,” Gourlay said, “ whether it’s reading a Michigan author or a newspaper or road map — just little tidbits and ideas.”

Students and staff have also engaged in daily “book talks.” Each morning, during the school’s TV program for announcements students and staff talk about one of their favorite books. 

Those who walk through the hallways of the school will also note that the doors have been decorated to look like book covers.

For Gourlay, there are many benefits to reading.

“If they find a book that works perfectly for them and sparks that interest in reading, it will only help them do better at a job at filling out a college application,” she said. “It lends itself to increase your vocabulary and increase the way you would write or phrase something. If I can do my part, that’s what I am here to do.”

Gourlay hopes to bring the free Reading Store back next year.