Hartsville professor donates 1,000 books to school in Florida
What does a school do when its media center receives a collection of 1000 hardback books by award-winning authors and illustrators? Add more bookshelves, of course.
Dale R. Fair Babson Park Elementary School in Polk County, Florida, did just that when it recently acquired a large collection of fiction and nonfiction books for its media center. The gift by Dr. Richard Culyer, professor emeritus of education at Coker College, recognized the school for its long-term commitment to fostering the reading habit of its elementary students. The media center has an open schedule so students can visit at any time during the day, and each classroom teacher has hundreds of books at various reading levels and interests so students always have abundant materials to read between media center visits. The school expects students to read 30 minutes at home each evening (parents of kindergarten students read to their children), and reading opportunities are planned throughout the school day as well. Moreover, students complete a RAH (Reading at Home) log daily for both fiction and nonfiction entries. Teachers use library books to provide background and follow-up for their reading lessons and also read stories to their classes, for enjoyment and literary development.
Principal Elizabeth Tyler, who directs and oversees the effort, noted that “We are thankful for Dr. Culyer’s generosity and his dedication to ensure that our students develop a love of reading.” Media specialist Sally Mongeon added, “The students were very excited with the additional collection of award winning books, and research shows that the kids most proficient in reading are those with an endless supply of reading material, so this contribution of classic books was most appreciated.”
Culyer reads half a dozen children’s books each week and offers recommendations for additional acquisition. He also serves as a regular reviewer of adult books for American History Magazine and for the past eight years has written a weekly newspaper column of education advice for parents. His comment about the gift, “I felt it was appropriate to recognize a remarkable school that has a long-term comprehensive commitment to reading, an effort that involves all members of the faculty at all grade levels.”
He and his wife Gail have resided in Hartsville for over 40 years.