Columbus Libraries Help Groveport Schools Improve Reading Skills

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In the Groveport-Madison School District, more than a third of students failed the third grade reading test and are at risk of being held back next year.

To improve scores and increase literacy, the Columbus Metropolitan Library is putting more books in students' hands.

"Alright, Alyssa, what did you read?" Mrs. Dione Allen said, as she calls on a hand in her first grade class.

At Sedalia Elementary School, students are fighting the odds with the turn of every page.

"So next month, we might get some other Berenstain Bears books," said Mrs. Allen. "And they might be on a different topic."

Her classroom is part of a pilot program that receives books from the Columbus Metropolitan Library to supplement school libraries and their aging collections.

"Many of our school systems do not have the kinds of funds to be able to regularly update their classroom collections, and their school library collections," said CML Public Services Director Kathy Shahbodaghi.

The classroom kits are delivered once a month to all six elementary schools in the Groveport Madison school district.  That's a delivery of 30 new books, going to students in 118 classrooms.

Every month, library workers fill bins with their most popular titles for students in kindergarten through grade five at no cost to the district.

"I think it's a great way to expose children to literacy and books, especially if they don't have access to it at home," said Mrs. Allen.

The library system wants to expand the program next year to more classrooms and districts, and eventually all 72 Columbus City Schools.

"We do have a need in middle school and high school for students to get into the library," said English-Language Arts Curriculum Specialist. "Reading is a lifelong thing; it doesn't stop in elementary school."

And, reading between the lines - inspiring a love of books could add up to improved state reading scores come this spring.

The cost to run the program is covered by the Columbus Metropolitan Library's operational budget.

But, they say, expenses are minimal: the greatest being the cost of buying the green bins.