Students of the English 497 Senior Seminar class wish to spread their love of literacy through a book drive at The Running Tree 5K Run/Walk for Literacy Nov. 8.
Books from the drive will be donated to local public schools in need of literature.
Professor of English Barbara Dixson said the idea of a 5K run/walk sprouted from an assignment the class did regarding reaching out to a wider community to teach the values of literacy and education.
Originally, the class worked on separate projects but wanted to collaborate.
“I asked students to discuss with others at their tables what each person might decide to do, and the idea for a run arose at one table and spread immediately through the class,” Dixson said. “I was amazed and delighted when the students in this class took on such an exciting and ambitious project.”
Since this was a large undertaking, the class needed help from other sources to get the 5K run/walk off the ground. Several students were involved in other organizations willing to help out.
Vice President of the English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta Natalie Pelkey said her organization was more than willing to help out. Megan Raether, the Of the Month Coordinator for the National Residence Hall Honorary, said NRHH was glad to support them.
Pelkey stressed the important role literature plays in young people’s lives.
“Many of us in the English program have connected with a book that means a lot to us,” Pelkey said. “These connections are especially developed during the middle school years, which are hard for everyone and they serve as an escape.”
Pelkey said many families cannot afford books, so the class wants to place as many books as possible into young peoples’ hands.
Raether said at her teaching practicum at P.J. Jacobs middle school, she noticed some students having trouble accessing a library because their parents worked late hours. Raether said some students found it hard to focus and read in a classroom setting.
“It is important and beneficial for students to read at home,” Raether said. “They need to have a book of their own that they can work on.”
All three have a love for literacy and wish to share the benefits with the community.
“Learning to love the world opened by good books brings young people into other lives and distant places,” Dixson said. “The wider perspective given by stepping in this way outside our daily routine lasts for a lifetime.”