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Students really eating up this reading assignment

Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Read a book, buy a cow.

It may sound like a weird nursery rhyme, but at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, it’s really taking place.

Students and staff at the school have been celebrating “I Love to Read” Month in February by raising funds for a nonprofit international relief organization.



Called Heifer International, the organization provides livestock to needy people around the world, and has helped around 5 million families become more self-reliant.

Sonya Hemmen, Glenwood Springs Elementary School principal, said that through “Read to Feed” kids are learning about issues and people outside of their immediate community.



“It’s wonderful, because students are being exposed to things outside of themselves,” she said. “Plus, it’s giving them a great incentive to read.”

This month, students’ parents are pledging money for each book their children read. At the end of the month, the books and pledges will be tallied, and the student body will vote on the farm animals they wish to purchase through the “Read to Feed” program.

Through the program, the kids can buy chicks and ducks for $20, a goat for $120, or a heifer for $500. Families receiving these animals then pass on offspring to other families in need.

Earlier this month, Marsha Rey, a Heifer International representative from Denver, came to Glenwood and talked to the children about the program.

Rey explained that the impacts of Heifer International can be profound, like in the case of a little girl named Beatrice Biira from Uganda. Beatrice’s family received a goat from Heifer International when she was 9. The money the family received from selling the goat’s milk allowed Beatrice’s parents to send her and her brothers and sisters to school.

Since Rey’s visit, the kids have been reading away, and staff members helped assemble a papier-mache animal farm smack in the middle of the school’s rotunda entrance to keep students motivated about the reading program.

For more information about Glenwood Elementary’s “Read to Feed” program, contact principal Sonya Hemmen at 384-5450.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.com


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