Bushel of books from Reading Tree

Central elementary could very well be called Central library.

Central elementary could very well be called Central library.

The inner-city school was the recent recipient of 2,500 good-quality books, courtesy of The Reading Tree.

The Reading Tree is an organization that aims to lesson the strain on landfills and to make sure children, all children, have ample opportunity for reading.

“This is fabulous for us,” said principal Scott Wallace.

“For me to be able to put 2,500 books in our school, that’s just not feasible with my budget … of course I jumped right on this.”

According to The Reading Tree website 61 per cent of low-income families have no children’s books in the home. Research also shows that classrooms need hundreds of books to fulfill the literacy requirement.

“If you’ve got a classroom that’s barren of books, it’s not the best for kids,” said Wallace.

And yet, the books are out there. Thousands end up in landfills every year.

But with its blue bins located in various spots throughout the Fraser Valley, four in Chilliwack alone, The Reading Tree is trying to change that.

At Central, the donation amounts to about five to 10 books per child for each classroom. And the books aren’t throw-away books, they’re good quality, good titles, good selection, good reading.

Teachers are in charge of how they will use the books, some may use them for silent reading, while others may incorporate a lending library to support at-home reading.

“We’re always on the lookout for additional resources and this gives us the ability to put five to 10 books per child in the classroom,” said Wallace.

And if the student reaction is any indication, the books are already a huge success.

At a school assembly earlier this week, teacher-librarian Chris Hunt rolled in five boxes, containing hundreds of books, on a dolly.

Do you know what’s in these boxes, he shouted out.

Books. Hundreds of books.

The announcement was received with exuberant screams of joy bouncing off the gym’s walls.

kbartel@theprogress.com