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Book club members connect with Oklahoma City charter school

Four women share their love of books with fifth-grade students at Stanley Hupfeld Academy.
by Tim Willert Modified: March 4, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: March 3, 2014
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Fifth-grader Chase Crutchfield eats a sandwich during Reading Club at Stanley Hupfeld Academy on Thursday. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
 <strong>David McDaniel - 
The Oklahoman
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Fifth-grader Chase Crutchfield eats a sandwich during Reading Club at Stanley Hupfeld Academy on Thursday. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman David McDaniel - The Oklahoman

Nyla Chuku, 10, finished her book, “The Liberation of Gabriel King,” in three days.

The book’s hero is afraid of everything, including the fifth grade. His best friend, the only black kid in school in a town with an active Ku Klux Klan, is afraid of nothing.

“It’s been making me want to read at home, at school and in my free time,” Nyla said.

Meldrum didn’t think the reading club would work when she was approached by Sullivan.

The teacher wasn’t sure her students could stay on task between monthly visits by the women.

“That’s a lot to expect for kids to wait a month to be excited,” she said. “That’s not normal.”

On their last visit, Sullivan and her cohorts — Kathy Walker, Sandra LeVan and Barbara Crandall — came prepared to talk about the books and brought enough cupcakes to go around.

Lively discussions and imaginative presentations by the students followed.

“It’s a simple idea that can be replicated anywhere,” said Sullivan, who sits on the board of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Meldrum credits Sullivan with creating a love of reading that can “never be repaid.”

“That’s all she wanted,” Meldrum said. “She doesn’t want to save them. She doesn’t want to teach them a lesson. She just wants them to love to read, and by all means she has accomplished that.”

by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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