WYNNE, AR (KAIT) --With the Internet, cable TV and video games it may seem like reading is a dying art.
But the Wynne School District is promoting reading at a very young age by filling the bookcases.
Last September the Wynne schools held a drive to gather children's books. The response was overwhelming and very soon the time will come when the books are distributed....in brand new hand made book cases.
Wynnes program was based on a Literacy program out of Conway started by Jim Davidson who started this program there. It has been going for about 7 years. This is Wynnes' first year and compared to Conway this program has really boomed.
"Normally this project has gone in where they put in 50 book cases a year over in Conway and they don't vear from that. We decided as a committee our first year that we would like to target all of our 4 year old students who will be entering Kindergarten next year."
Sherry Breckenridge who is the coordinator of the program told me they set their sites a little wider.
They need nearly100 bookcases made in a short amount of time. Fred Heath is volunteering his time with the Methodist Men's group and other volunteers to build book cases at a local lumber yard.
"I think we had some damaged material some damaged pieces so were going to turn out approximately 46. We have another group that's going to turn out another 50 I believe.
With this program we're able to outreach and outsource to individuals that otherwise might not have an opportunity to have literature in their house at a beginner level."
That group would be Mr. Larry Jones Ag-Mechanics program at the Wynne High School.
As I watched the 20 or so students, nailed, glued, measured, cut and assembled the bookcases. The stacks of parts and completed cases were dwindling and rising accordingly.
As part of a three part literacy program that kicked off in September the bookcases complete with books will find themselves in homes very soon.
Breckenridge says a big concern is that young children are not getting read to at night or at all for a variety of reasons.
"And we realize that a lot of children may not have books in their home . They may not have a parent available to read to them."
After the book drive was underway a banquet was held to raise money to build the bookcases. Between those funds and donated materials and tools the project is well underway.
School involvement has been phenomenal, besides students pitching in to build the bookcases. Haisley Huddleston and Jessica McClintock did artwork and ramrod the book collection efforts at the high school.
McClintock, "Teachers even like gave bonus points. It's like if you gave 5 books you got 5 bonus points and that really helped."
The two girls were able to gather nearly 500 books as well as doing a large portion of the promotions and making hand outs and posters. Haisley says in small towns community is important.
"We are a small town and everybody knows everybody and therefore we help each other out."
And the community really has pitched in. There are bags loaded with books and ready to be distributed.
Breckenridge, "We had a goal of 2000 books when we started for our community. and we've reached well over 3500 and books are still coming in."
The books will be distributed on May 23 at an awards banquet.