Student Professional Oklahoma Educators hosts book drive

By Abigail Chadwick, Assistant News Editor   (Photo by Preston Morris/The Bison)

A couple of small boxes have been placed around campus with the intention of making a large impact.

The Student Professional Oklahoma Educators association (SPOE) has placed painted boxes in the lower GC and on the second floor of Shawnee Hall. These book drive collection boxes will remain until April 13. The donated books will be given to students at Horace Mann Elementary School.

Two goals of the SPOE are the professional development of its students and supporting the community.

“Our initial goal in SPOE is to provide professional development for our teacher candidates,” Dr. Kellie Young, assistant professor of education, said. “We really do want to provide support for the people going through the program through that professional development, but then we also want to reach out. We don’t want to just be reaching in and only providing for our candidates, but also reaching out to the community and supporting them as well.”

Some Shawnee children don’t have books at home.

“Books are pretty expensive as a whole,” Young said. “[Sometimes] you don’t really realize that a lot of students don’t even have one book at home.”

Reading affects a child’s future studies.

“Literacy is a huge component of teaching and learning,” a junior interdisciplinary major in elementary education, early childhood education and special education and president of OBU’s SPOE chapter, Jessica George said. “Especially third-grade on up, most of your other areas like math and science and social studies comes from reading and so if you’re behind on reading that has a huge impact on other areas as well.”

The book drive is for elementary grade-level books.

“So, we’re looking at ages first through fifth-grade,” Young said. “So, they can be picture books; they can be chapter books, really anything that we would consider children’s [litera-ture].”

SPOE requests that books be in good condition.

“The books that we are collecting can be used, but we ask that they are gently used,” George said. “If it’s been through a couple generations and it’s faded or falling apart that might not be a good one to donate.”

Books may be of any type within the appropriate age range, fiction or nonfiction.

“The hope is to give them a book about something that they’ll be interested in and that will grow their interest in reading,” George said. “Because no child is the same and all children are different we need all kinds of books.”

One factor in a book’s reading level is its length.

“One key thing is going to be how big the books [are],” George said. “If it’s a really long chapter book, like some of those Harry Potter books or even Series of Unfortunate Events, they’re probably going to be more on your middle school or high school level.”

The AR Book Find website may help determine the reading level of some books.

“On AR Book find it will tell you one if it’s an AR book,” George said. “We don’t necessarily care if it’s an AR book or not, but if it is it will let you know the book level. So, if it’s a 4.3 that means it’s a fourth-grade level book, if it’s a 6.0 that means it’s a sixth-grade level book.”

The book drive is part of SPOE’s goal of serving the community.

“We really want to give back to the community because we have a lot of teachers that offer their classrooms for our student teaching or field experiences,” Young said. “So, we want to try and give back to the community and our goal is to raise enough books through this book drive to be able to provide all of the students at Horace Mann with a book they can take home during the summer, so that’s our ultimate goal; we hope we make that.”

SPOE staff advisor and SPOE president said they hope to have more book drives in the future.

“I think we are probably going to continue to do this, that’s the plan, every spring semester through April and try to collect books,” Young said. “That’s our goal is to do this annually and get everyone involved, but also to do it campus-wide so that other people have the opportunity to donate books, but also have an awareness that there is a need in our community.”

So far about 30 books have been donated.

“Right now we definitely still need a lot more books,” George said.

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