Dublin Villager

Wright Elementary School

Librarian, community groups offer free books

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Wright Elementary School librarian Marisa Congelio collected enough reading material this year to give each student five books to encourage reading over the summer.
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Thanks to librarian Marisa Congelio, students at Wright Elementary School will have some literary entertainment over summer vacation.

With the help of other Dublin schools and community organizations, Congelio collected more than 3,000 books; each student at Wright will take home five of those books for summer reading.

The idea to have a free book fair to add to students' home libraries came to Congelio via the annual Scholastic Book Fair.

"We have a fair in the fall, but it's so hard because I see the same kids not getting books over and over again," she said.

"My goal is to get books in kids' hands. I shouldn't have to worry about money."

So, in December, Congelio talked to other Dublin City School librarians and began collecting books.

Karrer and Grizzell middle schools held book drives; Deer Run, Pinney and Thomas elementary schools also contributed to the collection.

Dublin AM Rotary put collection boxes around the city for children's books and Worthington Library donated books. Dublin Community Church also collected new books for the effort.

"I was overwhelmed with people being so generous with us, to tell the truth," Congelio said, adding the collection was large enough to allow five books for each student plus book raffles.

The generosity continued when Congelio began searching for bikes for two girls she mentors.

"I emailed the staff about how to get a lead on a bike," she said.

"I got 16 bikes donated and four more are on the way."

Bikes were added to the raffles and students can earn raffle tickets by treating others with respect, putting effort into their schoolwork and other good behavior.

"I'm using the raffles to motivate the students to learn through the rest of the school year," she said, adding that students often start dreaming of summer vacation in May.

"I want them to keep learning till the last day of school," she said.

Students choose which raffles to enter. They can choose from picture, nonfiction and chapter books for their five books in the weeks leading up to summer vacation, Congelio said.

"I want them to keep reading over the summer and thought we should give them books they're interested in," she said.

The free book fair and raffles have students working hard and getting excited about reading, Congelio said.

"It's really cool to see kids working so hard to earn books," she said.

"One kid said this is the first book he's ever owned. It's cool that it means so much to them."

Congelio is also hoping the book fair returns next year.

"I would love to do it again," she said. "I would love to partner with the same people and even expand the partnerships."

Congelio is also hoping to continue the bike collection to pair students who need bikes with wheels.

"My next big idea is a bike club," she said. "I want to keep giving to these kids and helping them.

"Maybe these kids will look back and say 'I'm a reader now because of this experience.'

"I'm trying to make reading a positive experience for them."

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