Four women who love to read are sharing that love with Heather Meldrum’s fifth-grade class at Stanley Hupfeld Academy, a north Oklahoma City charter school.
The women, who belong to a book club, have connected with students in ways the pupils’ teacher didn’t think were possible.
“The kids feel really important about being able to share something they’ve learned and something that they’ve been able to read with people that are from a completely different generation,” Meldrum said recently following the group’s second visit.
Chase Crutchfield, 11, and Helen Sullivan, 67, don’t have much in common except for a book about a family that travels from Michigan to Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement.
“The Watsons Go to Birmingham” has sparked an interest in reading for Chase, who once struggled to read at grade level.
“I like the book because it’s good, and it’s funny,” said Chase, one of nearly two dozen students who receive monthly visits from the women. “I like that they’re encouraging kids to read because a lot of kids sit around and play video games all day.”
Meldrum credits much of the success to the universal themes contained in the four books she has selected for her students to read.
The books that will be discussed by the children and their mentors over the next several months include characters who are fearful, bullied, lonely and neglected.
“Whether you’re 90 or you’re 9, you’ve experienced everything that has gone on in these books,” she said.
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